Friday, April 27, 2012
Measuring the unmeasurable
Improvement implies more than change. It implies doing something better than it had been done before. But better implies measurement. What about those cases when you want to improve something that's unmeasurable?
Most things that are considered unmeasurable actually are measurable. In cases when something seems to be unmeasurable, it generally seems that way due to a misunderstanding.
Take mentoring as an example. Can we measure mentoring? Some might say no, but consider a few points.
- Is mentoring something you value? If so, it is worth measuring.
- Is there a way to judge the value of mentoring? Is there some detectable outcome? If not, why do you value it? If so, the very detection of the outcome is a form of measurement...a yes/no measurement.
- Does some mentoring result in better outcomes than other mentoring? If so, you can do better than yes/no measurement...your measurement can result in a ranked list of the effectiveness of mentoring events.
- Can you assign values to how much better one mentoring outcome is than another? If so, not only can mentoring measurements be ranked in order but they can be assigned a magnitude of the amount of value that came from each mentoring.
Each of the points above indicates a type of measurement. Often the barrier to measurement will disappear simply by clarifying the concept that you are trying to measure.
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Continuous improvement, measurement