Recently I meet with a CEO of a large publicly traded company. I was seeking input from her about how she effectively leads a fast growing and changing organization in hopes of applying what I learned from her in my leadership context. At one point we moved to discussing the essential nature of measuring the right things. That is when she said “you move what you measure”.
Then she shared one example of a simple behavioral change her company wanted to make with a key group of their business partners – improved timeliness of monthly reporting – and how, by simply adding on-time reporting as a measurement to their weekly scorecard, they drastically improved performance in this area.
So the question is – why does something as simple as measurement change behavior?
First, measurements provide feedback and, as social science has clearly demonstrated, feedback is essential for any behavior change. Secondly, by choosing to measure something you’re also communicating it’s importance to the organization. And this is important because people want to do meaningful work that aligns with the values and the priorities of their organization.
Finally, there’s one other bit of advice this CEO had about measurements. She said that it’s important to pick only a handful of measurements because, as humans, we can only focus on a small number of things at one time. So when we measure to many things the measurements looses their power to change behavior.
I’m thankful for this part of our discussion because it affirmed one of the important components of leading the SpringHill way that I shared with our leadership this winter – “what gets measured is what gets done” or as this CEO stated “you move what you measure”. And because we value getting things done, especially the right things, measuring them is an absolutely essential practice that SpringHill leaders prioritize, value, assure happens.
For more perspectives on place of measurements in your organization click here and here.
Some gardens barely survive, others thrive. What’s different? It usually is a result of some combination of the four following things – good soil, water, sunlight and hard work.
A close friend of mine was asked to give a talk to business leaders centered on the theme of “thriving not just surviving” and asked if I would share with him some of the things we do at SpringHill to thrive. Below is my answer to my friend’s request.
Like a garden there are four areas of focus that I’m convinced have helped SpringHill not just survive during these rocky economic and industry challenging times but actually thrive.
People – always assuring people, whether it is staff, partners, or customers, are the organization’s top priority. Why? Because it’s the committed and talented people who make SpringHill a healthy and thriving ministry.
Alignment – having clarity and commitment throughout the organization on the answers to the most important questions an organization faces such as:
Why do we exist? Mission
What’s important to us? Core Values
What do we want to become? Vision
What do we want to accomplish? Goals, both short and long-term
What makes us distinct? Brand
Culture – creating an organizational culture that is positive about the possibilities, respectful of people, appropriately challenging and accountable, and finally celebratory.
Work – like a garden, creating a thriving organization requires ongoing attention and care of these three elements – the people, alignment and the culture of the organization.
There may be other elements necessary to thrive, but these four have been the center of SpringHill’s healthy growth for many years.
There’s an entire industry dedicated to helping people become leaders and much of it focuses on what I call Personal Leadership. Personal leadership encompasses those character traits and qualities a person needs to have to be an effective leader. This is especially true of the messages from authors and speakers who come at leadership through a Christian perspective.
And it’s obvious why this is the case. Effective, world-changing leadership always begins with the leader. So it follows that helping people think and behave in a way conducive to being a leader is essential. We might even say it’s the first and most important step in leadership development.
Unfortunately leadership development gurus, and leaders themselves, too often stop with personal leadership. This happens because we believe that the most important thing is, well, the only thing. But unfortunately, this is rarely true in life or in leadership.
You see, people who want to be world-changing leaders, can and will only do so by leading others in the context of movements, teams, and organizations. And it’s in these contexts that a leader needs more than just personal leadership qualities. They need, what I call, Organizational Leadership ability.
Organizational Leadership includes those attitudes, perspectives and behaviors that move people from being a group of individuals to becoming a team, from being disorganized and unfocused to becoming aligned and disciplined, from doing a job to making a difference, and from just existing to changing the world.
What does it take to practice Organizational Leadership? It requires leading in four specific and integrated areas:
Each of these areas is critical to creating and leading teams, organizations and movements. In my next two posts I’ll outline their meaning and what it takes to lead in each.
For over twenty years Michael Perry has made it his mission to bring young people closer to Christ through his Bible study publications, his capacity as the President and CEO of SpringHill, and his recent book, Experience = Everything. Over the last fifty years, SpringHill has changed over half a million lives—proving that it is more than just camp, or a place, SpringHill is a transformative experience.