Have you ever set out to do something badly? Ever carefully planned to fail? At one time or another, most of us have monumentally screwed up. By accident, though, not design.
We normally try to make a success of our work, projects, and relationships. Most of our planning efforts go into things we want to succeed at; most of our thought goes into what we want, rather than what we don’t want.
Yet when things go wrong, it’s normally because we haven’t paid enough attention. We didn’t bother to think through what we were aiming for, or to put plans in place to meet our objectives. Stuff goes wrong because we couldn’t be bothered to give it the time and trouble it deserved – whether it is a work project, a committee, a personal relationship or a personal goal. How many New Year resolutions were made and then forgotten just as quickly?
Of course not everything is worth the bother of doing well. Sometimes we try to do too much and have to let things go. But projects or relationships that are important to us need time and attention, and are worth the bother - which is where performance measurement comes in.
Measuring and tracking performance, and learning when things go off course, is time consuming. But it means that those projects go well. Those projects get the attention they need. Performance measurement and improvement isn’t a freebie – it takes a little time and a little effort but is well worth the bother. At least it is for those things that we want, or need to get right.