Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Litmus Test for Sustainability

By Steven Worth, President, Plexus Consulting LLC

It is a forehead slapping, frustrating moment when a manager realizes the metric they have been using to measure a program’s effectiveness may not be the right one--but it is the only explanation sometimes when hitting a target leaves you less than satisfied, when you realize that you could hit the target repeatedly and still never be any further ahead in the end. It is a more common managerial mistake than many realize, but how do you solve it—how do you know you have set the target on what truly matters?

The answer lies in the realization that every strategic goal has multiple dimensions such as:

• Financial, are the revenues generated enough to cover costs and contribute to investment in new intellectual capital?;

• In what measurable way(s) does it contribute to advancing the organization’s mission and vision? and

• In what measurable ways does it increased the market share or impact of your organization on your target markets?

But there is a fourth area that the most effective programs cover as well:

• How has this improved the economic performance of your customers?—how has it helped students find jobs, professionals to find better paying positions, and employers to operate more efficiently and profitably?

As important as the first three are, we have found that it is this fourth aspect of measurement that matters most in this competitive global economy we all live in.

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