So why is measurement in such short supply among so many change and communication practitioners?
The explanations for not measuring sound like the excuses for not exercising. “I’m too busy.” “I don’t have the right equipment.” “I don’t have support.”
Measurement, like exercise, doesn’t have to be complicated, time consuming, or expensive. And like exercise, you should measure regularly.
Invest 60 minutes on Nov. 17 at 9 am PT to see how you can measure more and reap the benefits. David Youssefnia, PhD of Critical Metrics, one of my long-time collaborators, will be my guest for a free one-hour teleclass on “Measurement beyond engagement surveys.”
For example, some of my data success stories in recent months include:
- Increased support for a change initiative. A leadership team was cautious about involving too many employees too early in its change initiative. They wanted to wait until the perfect moment, which they weren’t sure how to define. Then they saw survey results that showed that people managers who had not received official notification of the change initiatives were significantly less positive on all aspects of the company’s new direction. It now became the right time to broaden the involvement! They were right as later surveys showed improved receptivity to the change.
- Clearer, easier-to-read messages. We needed lawyers to review and sign off on documents we were sharing with employees because of the technical, complex nature of the subject matter. The lawyers accepted their task with gusto. After legal review, their redlined documents scored 14.6 on the Flesch-Kincaid grade reading level scale, using the readability scores on Microsoft Word. This compared to a 9.4 grade level for the other types of content employees received. (As a point of reference, newspapers and blogs are generally written at an 8th grade level.) We showed the lawyers how their documents compared with the others, and convinced them we could improve the readability without excessive risk.
- More cohesive team with improved collaboration. A five-person work team was delivering on its commitments but at a price. The team members kept grumbling about each other to the team leader. They cited fuzzy directions, overly detailed instructions, low energy, high drive, too much attention to detail, not enough thought about the big picture, and on and on. As part of the team intervention, all the team members completed the HRDQ “What’s my communication style?” assessment that I regularly use. Not surprisingly, the team members’ styles were quite diverse. This helped the quality of their results, but hurt their ability to work together. Now they understand their divergent styles. That awareness has helped them come up with mutually acceptable new ways to collaborate that play to their strengths.
In these three situations, the data proved my gut correctly. However, the data was much more convincing than any words that I could have used to describe my gut feelings. The data provided evidence.
And we also have to acknowledge that our guts may be wrong. That’s why evidence-based management is so important.
“Trust the evidence, not your instincts,” wrote Stanford professors Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert Sutton in a New York Times article of the same name earlier this fall. They also are the authors of the book, “Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths, and Total Nonsense: Profiting from Evidence-Based Management.”
So get the evidence. Measure.
And join David and me on November 17 for “Measurement beyond engagement surveys” to get tips you can use.