Here Is Why You Don’t Like to Measure and Why You Should Do It Anyway


April, 2017

If you are like me, you had a nice weekend with a cozy dinner with your family on Sunday. Your kids spent the Saturday baking some delicious cakes. You also drank a few glasses of wine. This is not an outlier, but more of a pattern for the weekends. It is Monday morning and you are in the bathroom preparing for the day. You hesitate to step on the weight scale. Finally you decide to do it but the batteries are low … Lucky you!

This situation with the weight scale demonstrates the first reason you don’t like to measure but there are more:

Measuring is confrontational

Like with your weight scale, you don’t always want to see what’s on the display. You suspect that you have gained some weight. Actually, you know it. But when you see the number, it might be worse than you thought it would be.

Measuring you business performance is the same. It confronts you with the naked reality.  Your sales are too low, your costs are too high, your lead times are too long, your on-time-delivery performance is below target and your customers are not succeeding with your product as they should.

You want to win, you don’t want to lose. Data confronts you with the fact that you’re not winning (yet). That’s why we don’t like to measure.

Measuring drives your action

When you get over the fear of being confronted with the facts, now you are on your way to improve performance. When you saw the digits on the scale, you were maybe “shocked” at first. Still, the chances are big that your behaviour will change – at least for the day.  You eat less, choose healthy foods and exercise a bit more.

If you measure and keep on measuring what is important for your business, you will take actions – sooner or later – to influence the figures. The worst thing you could do is stop measuring because you are not satisfied with the progress. Keep going, keep tweaking. Change will come.

Measuring gives you feedback

Taking actions to improve sales or reduce costs will only help if you measure their impact. Data gives you feedback on how successful your actions and decisions have been in improving business performance.

But you must be patient to see the results.

You secretly hope after one day of eating less that you will already see the results. You step on the scale next morning with this foolish hope. You know it is crazy. Just consider: how long did it take you to get to your current condition? Months or even years. So, don’t expect to see significant immediate changes right next day.

Measuring helps you focus on the right thing

20% of the actions you are taking to improve performance will deliver you 80% of your result. But which 20%? If you measure, you will know it.

Often, we try to do everything at once. You start running, go weight lifting, drop sugar, reduce artificial additives, cut out fat, focusing on slow carbs… all are very good points, but it will be difficult to maintain such an enormous change in your health habits. You run the risk of failing to maintain these levels of actions.

Probably you only need one “little” change and see a significant improvement. Maybe if you went to bed 1 hour earlier, it would already contribute a lot in dropping some pounds. But you should measure and be disciplined to know what helps and what does not.

In your business, it is the same: when you come up with a long list of actions you want to take to improve process lead times, there will be a few actions that will contribute more to your success than all the other actions combined.

Measuring your business performance is the heart of the Lean Six Sigma improvement method. Keeping this method simple and efficient is our specialty. Otherwise it might become a burden. That is why we only apply 20% of the most effective tools to achieve 80% of the improvements.

Do you dare to confront yourself with the naked truth about your business process performance? Start improving it with a free trial at HerkuLess®.

Beat the average.



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