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What are some practical examples of things we could measure?

In C21st orgs, there is no standard approach to measurement. Each team and structure is unique and measurement should reflect that.

We need to think differently about the concept of measurement and select metrics which matter to us because they indicate something meaningful. (see: What should we measure within a 21st Century Org?) This means that we monitor things which genuinely affect an organisation’s people and therefore the organisation itself.

We can also identify measurements which quantify costs which have traditionally been externalised outside of the organisation’s responsibility.

Here are some suggestions for measurements which are very different to the usual financial indicators. Some of these may feel uncomfortable to talk about let alone measure. But that is the idea.

The frequency of disagreement

Healthy cultures have healthy conflict. A lack of robust discussion is a problem because disagreement should exist. If it doesn’t manifest itself in dialogue, it will manifest itself some other way, most likely in behaviour and politics.

The length of delays

Delays are a classic symptom of a system issue. If you monitor the length and whereabouts of delays, you can start to look for deeper issues.

The number of sign-offs

If you want to act on something, how many people must sign off on it first? The size of this number tells you something about trust and responsiveness.

Duty to Downtime day off ratio

The number of days off people are taking for personal/family duties (e.g. letting in the plumber or going to a child’s concert) vs days off for actual rest and recuperation. If people are choosing not to recuperate then they are going to burn out.

Innovation:Ideas

What proportion of evaluated ideas makes it through an innovation phase. Ideas are great but relatively easy to come by. The real measure is how they are developed within an organisation.  (see: What is the important difference between creativity and innovation?).

The B Impact Assessment

A ready to go measure to evaluate the breadth of an organisation’s stakeholder concerns. The BIA (which is part of the B Corp movement) clearly sets out how to measure what's most important.  (see: What does the B Impact Assessment cover?).

Disclosure Levels

The quantity of information kept at the top of your organisation on a need to know basis.

The level of recourse

The level of recourse available to the person with the least amount of power in your organisation’s system.

The number of phone calls

The number of phone calls someone has to make with (or within) your organisation in order to resolve an issue.

The Purpose Test

What proportion of the front line employees furthest from the centre can a) hold an enthusiastic conversation about the organisation's purpose (not just repeat a purpose phrase) b) demonstrate they actually believe it and c) provide illustrations of it at work.

Health & Wellness

Issues that give a true picture of the emotional and physical health of employees - from stress levels to accidents.

Early Mortality Rates

And not just accidents. The average life expectancy of Partners in some of the world’s largest corporates or the suicide rates in some industries is shocking.

The Loved One Test

The proportion of people who would want their closest loved ones (e.g. their children) to have a career at their place of employment.

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  1. John Featherby

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