March 03, 2006
What Gets Measured
What gets measured, gets done.
It's one of the core precepts of good management and good leadership. It is not always the easiest thing to do -- especially if the challenge at hand is best measured -- or evaluated - in qualitative ways. Reducing stress in your life, for example, is a more difficult measurement challenge than, say, quitting smoking.
Still, without attending to measurement and evaluation, it is not possible to use performance to drive change.
As with all precepts, though, there is the subtle opposite equally worth attention. That is, if you wish something your organization is doing to cease, then it makes sense to stop measuring and evaluating it.
What does not get measured, does not get done.
Good point. The Teagle Foundation has been encouraging a similr emphasis on evaluation, both quantitiative and qualitative, in higher education. Without it, I don't believe real change will take place in this sector. What we're finding, however, is the importance of building a "culture of evaluation" from the ground up, that is getting faculty participation at an early stage rather than making it all come from the top down. This is the only way, I think, to make it work in this quirky sector. I wonder if there are analogies in some business settings.
There's good material on assessment in higher ed. at www.teaglefoundation.org