Volume 9 Number 10 - October 4, 2011

If you know a company — customer, supplier, friend, or your own — that could benefit
from improved operations, let us know.
Your best interest is our best interest.

The Finish Strong® monthly e-newsletter is for business leaders who recognize Operations as a strategic function that creates competitive advantage, profitability and brand loyalty to the marketplace.

These brief articles, list of events, and amended quote will make you think.
Go ahead: test us


They say "what gets measured gets improved." That can be true if: (a) the metric values truly indicate unambiguous changes in performance, and (b) the people with responsibility for the metric improvement understand its cause-effect relationships.

A significant percentage of the metrics I see don't meet either criterion. And, sadly, they often don't measure the important things anyway. Success with metrics requires a thorough understanding of key profit drivers and of other elements of strategy.

A few additional thoughts to help you evaluate your metrics (Key Performance Indicators - KPIs):

As Peter Drucker said: "Enterprises are paid to create wealth, not control costs. But that obvious fact is not reflected in traditional measurements."

Passing the behavior test – does the metric drive the behavior (results) you want and impede the behavior (results) you don’t want?  How do you know?

Are the metrics timely, consistent, and reported by those closest to the subject?

Are the metrics actionable?

Most metrics are after-the-fact. What predictive metrics do you have in place for your key strategic drivers?

Can every employee describe, at least in generalities, how decisions they make daily impact the KPIs?

Don't measure things because everyone else does. That just costs money and wastes time. Measure well the things that ensure success.


The Swiss bank UBS recently said a "rogue employee" lost $2 Billion through unauthorized derivatives trading. This would seem to indicate a complete failure of internal controls.

During the recent recession, several large companies announced layoffs of 6,000 - 15,000 employees. This would seem to indicate a failure to address problems as they occur.

Strategy, context, and priorities set the scene for addressing opportunities and problems as they arise. A company that works hard to identify and act on the right issues as they appear is much less likely to find itself facing the cameras of "60 Minutes" and more likely to be successful.

If your management team is not evaluating problems and opportunities daily, and deciding which to pursue, who is? Abdication can lead to big surprises.



The Starting Pistol
Abraham Lincoln:
"A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

The Tape
Rebecca Morgan:
"There can only be one team within a successful organization. That doesn't preclude disagreement; only behaving as if others within are the enemy."


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