Successful for-profit organizations like Procter & Gamble are experts at measurement, and almost as importantly, know exactly what to measure. I was reminded of this recently when a staff member at a client proudly informed me they had 140 followers on Twitter. My response was to congratulate her, and then ask whether this had exceeded their goal or if this was faster than she had hoped? Her answer? There was no goal, 140 just seemed like a lot...
And 140 followers in a couple of months may indeed be stellar, but unless you set up a goal and measure against it, you'll never actually know. Here are some simple guidelines to help both charities and for-profit organizations set good goals and measure against them appropriately.
- Set the target(s) before the activity - setting them afterwards doesn't count
- You can adjust the target but don't discard the original - you'll want to learn from why you changed it
- Document your goal and share it - it will make you more likely to achieve it and keep you honest!
- Do some research about the goal - too stretching becomes demotivating, too easy adds little value
- Make your goals / targets "SMART"
- Always do a post-mortem - this debrief will be extremely helpful to avoid future mistakes and cement best practices
The final point is to be careful what you measure. You can drown in metrics, and I first heard the phrase "analysis paralysis" at P&G for a reason. So do be selective. And in being selective, seek to find the most fundamental drivers to your success. In any organization there are many things that are important, but ultimately only a few key levers that you can use to drive the whole operation. For example, in Fundraising you may want to measure how many Prospects you have, but its often more helpful to count how many Prospect Meetings are booked per month.
So be sure to measure because it will directly influence what you get!