Manufacturing Metrics and The Yellow Brick Road

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Most organizations use metrics as measuring sticks, showing people how the organization is doing.  Many management teams use a Balanced Scorecard, including both financial (lagging) measures and non-financial (leading) measures.   Lagging measures show us results that have occurred, after the fact.  Leading measures show progress at a designated point in time, allowing time for people to take corrective action when necessary to achieve a goal.

These are all important for business performance.  But metrics can deliver much greater value to a business. The best metrics serve as a clearly marked path leading to achievement of the strategy, just as the Yellow Brick Road took the legendary Dorothy and her cohorts to see the Wizard. The Yellow Brick Road was clearly visible to the famous Oz adventurers at all times, enabling them to take the most direct route.

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It is the responsibility of leaders to create a strategically aligned Yellow Brick Road for their people, solidly constructed of balanced metrics and communication.  By focusing everyone on delivering the company’s unique, strategic value, strategic goals can provide an all-encompassing context for performance and change.

Choosing Metrics

Effective metrics are measures that:

  • Are aligned with the Value Proposition, the company’s unique value that attracts and retains customers
  • Are relevant to each employee because they fit the work and/or services performed in the department/work unit
  • Employees can impact by what they do and how they do it, providing meaning and a personal level of connection with the business that sets the stage for their contributions

Ensuring Metrics are always visible:

  • They are posted, updated and discussed often, even daily
  • Individual and group recognition, rewards and incentives are based on performance against metrics
  • Employees can easily access information showing how they (individually and as a group) are doing

Is your company managing metrics for maximum performance?  Or is performance being diluted by distractions and low/no-value work?  These are key questions as you begin to re-visit, and potentially, re-design your metrics implementation.


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