Good Measures and Bad Measures: The Monday MOVE Idea

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The Monday MOVE Idea

Each Monday until the launch of my upcoming book MOVE, I’ll be sharing an important idea from the book.

This week: Good and Bad Measures

The right measures

Many managers struggle to know if they are measuring the right things. If you can get it right, you can achieve the holy grail of being confident about progress without getting overly involved in tracking detail.

Many times we select bad measures simply because they are the easiest thing to measure: “How many times did we do this? How much of this did we do? How fast did we do this? How many people saw this?”

We satisfy ourselves with the fact that we are measuring something. But in fact, we may be doing more harm than good because we are distracted from measuring the right things that drive action and forward progress in the business.

Activities vs. Outcomes

Good measures predict actual desired outcomes and enable you to move the business forward. Bad measures measure only activities or steps in the process, not outcomes.

Here’s a basic example of what I mean. Imagine you goal is to improve the capability of the customer service reps in your organization, so you put them all through training.

If you then have a success measure of “# of customer service reps who have gone through training”, that is a measure only of the activity or the process step — that they have gone through the training. It tells you literally nothing about the outcome — whether or not they have become better at their jobs.

In MOVE I talk about how to choose and measure the “Control Points” and outcomes instead of the activities or process steps. In this example, you would measure, “Did our service reps actually get better their jobs in a way that is meaningful to our customers?” Once you get the hang of it, you can create truly meaningful measures that will move your business forward.


I’m really excited to share all the tools I put in my upcoming book MOVE to help you get your team to execute your strategy or implement your key initiatives more decisively — Including ideas to build sponsorship along with building your own confidence and courage.

MOVE will be available in February, but you can download a free preview now.
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About Patty
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Patty Azzarello is an executive, best-selling author, speaker and CEO/Business Advisor. She became the youngest general manager at HP at the age of 33, ran a billion dollar software business at 35 and became a CEO for the first time at 38 (all without turning into a self-centered, miserable jerk)

You can find Patty at, follow her on twitter or facebook

You can find Patty at, follow her on twitter or Facebook, or read her books RISE and MOVE.

Strategy without Execution = Talking
Leading Business Transformation