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Measurable Or Important

In marketing as in management what we can measure gets done. But do metrics enable us to tick the right boxes, or are we ignoring what’s really important?

When I was pregnant with my second son, the local health authority set about improving patient waiting times at antenatal clinics. Performance indicators were set. A nursing assistant called each woman through to be weighed and give a urine sample within ten minutes of her arrival at the clinic. A simple, yet measurable efficiency. Every patient was ‘seen’ within the required time frame. Box ticked, she was then returned to the waiting room where she sat for up to two hours doing just that….waiting to see the obstetrician or a midwife.

Targets were certainly hit that summer. The graphs must have been a thing of beauty.
But what looks good on paper to a manager might not matter a damn to a customer.

It’s not always possible to measure what creates the most value.
I don’t know how Singapore Airlines measures the effect of hot towels, delivered at just the right moment. And I bet despite all his calculations and over 5,000 prototypes, James Dyson couldn’t have anticipated the impact of his clear cylinder design, that allowed people to actually see the dirt that was once in their carpets.

The real magic doesn’t often show up on the spreadsheet.

Image by Ben McLeod.

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