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Management By The Numbers


Management by the NumbersAs the saying goes, "What gets measured and monitored gets done." So, what are you measuring and monitoring? As the business owner, CEO, leader, or a manager in your organization, what are you monitoring on behalf of your team to ensure what you are supposed to be accomplishing is actually getting done? What metrics - or basic measurements - are you using to ensure the various projects and tasks you are so busily and diligently working on are actually on-budget, on-schedule, and still moving you toward the outcomes you truly need? Let me say it more simply:

How do you know you are working on the right things?

I most often speak and write about the benefits of smart, concise strategic plans. However, without effective implementation even the best strategic plans are useless. So why - with a good strategic plan behind them - do so many managers and leaders fail at effective implementation? From my 25+ years of experience, the answer is a failure to clearly identify the specific, measurable outcomes needed. Without that clarity, it is hard to measure progress toward or away from desired outcomes. Any movement then appears satisfactory. However, to be truly effective in the implementation part of management and leadership, savvy managers and leaders know how to manage by the numbers. And, they realize that when they know how to and can manage by the numbers, what gets measured and monitored, gets done.

So here's my challenge to you:

As a leader in your organization, what are the top five metrics you track on a daily basis to ensure you and your entire team are moving forward, towards your desired outcomes? For my business, we track the number of speaking engagements, consulting project volume, the number of training dates, total product sales, and social media tribe growth. Those metrics move my company forward. What moves your company forward? You could be tracking customer retention, new business, sales volume, order size, membership conversions, reject rates, raw materials, dates booked, orders received, orders shipped, employee turnover, etc. What are the top five you track? What are the top five your team tracks?  Are they aligned? Do your team members know the numbers you track and why? Do they know why those metrics are critical for you, your team, or your organization in moving forward? If they don't know, why not? If the numbers won't help you move forward to your desired outcomes, why are you tracking those numbers?

As managers and leaders, if you can't manage by some numbers, you're probably not managing as well as you should or as well as your team needs you to. Pick your top five. Work with them for awhile. Tweak and change them if they're not the right set of metrics to focus on to move you forward.

However, until you know what you are measuring and monitoring, you won't really know what you are trying to get done.


Copyright MMXI Liz Weber, CMC, CSP - Weber Business Services, LLC.


Liz Weber CMCLiz Weber, CMC CSP

Liz Weber coaches, consults, and trains leadership teams. She specializes in strategic and succession planning, and leadership development.

Liz is one of fewer than 100 people in the U.S. to hold both the Certified Management Consultant (CMC) and Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) designations.

Contact Liz’s office at +1.717.597.8890 for more info on how Liz can help you, or click here to have Liz’s office contact you.

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5 thoughts on “Management By The Numbers”

  1. Hi Liz,
    The right metrics are very important for successful outcomes. I have to add that it's also critical to not manage people by the numbers.

    By that I mean, if you talk only about the numbers you skew the culture to think only about the numbers.

    Innovation, inspiration, quality improvements, and morale are key components that can tumble if leaders lead by the numbers alone -- in the middle management world.

    This is very true in managing customer service quality. So many businesses have taken to looking only at the metrics and shutting out other assessments of customer satisfaction. In fact, you can actually be misguided into thinking you are a success from numbers alone.

    I agree that measuring is important IF it doesn't become the only focus. It works well when incorporated into great leadership and inspiration.
    I've seen too many metric focused organizations fail. Maybe because metrics make people feel so secure that we fail to question them. Hmmm..

    Focus on success and use many methods to get there!


  2. Liz Weber says:

    You are so right Kate. Leadership is a balancing act. Understanding the metrics and understanding the needs of your team. The numbers help provide focus, the leader provides the clarity on why, how, when, and the support to make it happen.

    Thanks for commenting Kate!

  3. Joan Henshaw says:

    Hi Liz
    I totally agree that 'what gets measured and monitored gets done' and that often the measuring and monitoring doesn't get done! I also agree with Kate - we need to measure more than the numbers. I've given some tips on how to monitor performance against both the quantifiable (numbers) objectives and behavioural objectives in my blog post 'Monitoring Performance against Performance Objectives'
    Best wishes

  4. Steve Suggs says:

    Thank you for preaching this message. Many managers today were beat up by other managers who used numbers as a negative motivator. All managers need to learn to use metrics for positive coaching.

  5. Liz Weber says:

    Yes Steve metrics -simple metrics- are a great way to simplify the focus of everyone's work. The key is to teach what the numbers mean and how each employee's actions can impact them. Then the tru learning and sense of 'I make a difference' sets in. I look forward to connecting with you on FB and LinkedIn.

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Posted by Liz Weber CMC on August 16, 2011 in Leadership Development and tagged , , , ,