Big words, little meaning – what do we mean by measurement?


Measuring a window

I have presented on some big topics over the last few months – measurement being one of them. In the last two sessions I showed a selection of photos from measuring spoons for cooking to measuring blood pressure – each one is a type of measurement. My worry is that we are getting stuck using words that are too big for us to quantify and they are paralysing progress.

I include words like collaboration in this bucket as well – what do we really mean when we say our organisation needs to collaborate more?

I spend a lot of time working with teams to help them explore the meaning behind the words used in their business strategy, behaviours and more. We talk about the how linked to the purpose and we bring some meaning to these words specific to the organisation. If we continue to use them without exploring their meaning people will be left wondering how they apply to what they do.

So, let’s drill down to make it more manageable so that we can move forwards:

Measurement – decide what it is you are trying to achieve. This doesn’t have to be several different things a dashboard can show you. It can be one or two things, linked to the business strategy. Pick one of the images I mentioned – you wouldn’t pick all of them to measure a window so don’t pick all sorts of measures to help you show you have delivered against an objective.

Collaboration – why? What are you trying to achieve and who are the stakeholders involved? Work with them and that’s collaboration. Introducing a digital platform to remove siloed working? It’s not the complete answer but if that’s your goal, why are trying to remove siloed working? Ask more questions and narrow the purpose for what you are really trying to achieve.

I’m sure there are more out there that leave some us standing at the bottom of a mountain without a clear way up. I promise you the path is there, it’s just about finding the right one for you – and that’s not always the same as others (but best practise and benchmarking is another blog!)

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