Why “Measure” means EXPENSIVE to businesses

I’ve been having some really interesting conversations after yesterday’s post, and it got me thinking a little bit. Now, I know this “measure” thing has been a bit of a sore subject, but I really think we need to consider the consequences of that description from a number of angles, one of which just occurred to me.

“Measure” = Expensive.

Why? Because now, a business is going to have to hire two people, rather than one. One’s going to do the measuring, and then they’ll have to go out there and find someone else to figure out what the measuring means. Maybe they’re just looking for step 1 of 2 for now, but when they get to step 2 (it won’t take long), they feel like they need to go out there and look for someone else. It may not be you they’ll ask to do #2 (that just doesn’t sound right, does it?), it’ll be someone else, because you’ve already told them you do #1 (still doesn’t sound right).

When we describe what we do in terms of input and process, rather than output and value, it appears that the input/process IS our output. And that only hurts us. Yes, businesses need measurement. But they need it not in and of itself, but to do something else. And the great thing is, that something else: answers, decisions, insight, confidence, faster learning and refinement, accountability to business outcomes; that is what we are awesome at.

This is not a war on a hashtag. The hashtag is lovely, and we can and should continue using it among ourselves. But consider eliminating the word “measure” in describing what you do among your clients or colleagues. For them, we are the in the business of feeding the organization insight, not collecting it.


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  1. It’s true, evanlapointe. I agree with you that Measure = Expensive. One thing I learned before I became a bestselling author and long before Inc Magazine voted my company as one of the fastest growing companies is one’s going to do the measuring, and then they’ll have to go out there and find someone else to figure out what the measuring means.

    Posted January 6, 2012 at 9:47 am | Permalink