In an article from APICS Magazine entitled “Lofty Ambitions” (May/June 2016 issue), Brett Mewett, a senior manufacturing consultant from Vancouver and APICS instructor, says that he often proclaims three statements that he swears by, though did not create. They read as follows – and frankly, you’ve probably heard them before:
“You cannot manage what you do not measure.”
“What gets measured gets done.”
“What gets rewarded gets done first.”
Mewett believes that these concepts are surprisingly powerful, and he breaks them down line by line in a manner we thought worth reprising here today.
You cannot manage what you do not measure means that what you don’t measure ends up managing you. Failure to measure means no one is responsible or accountable for optimizing processes, operations, resources and so on. Whether it’s inventory levels in the warehouse or financial performance of the overall operation, without measurement, you will be at their mercy.
What gets measured gets done. The idea here is that what is measured motivates people and modifies their behavior. “Employees refine and streamline their processes and make the appropriate processes a high priority in a way that seldom happens when measuring is not a key routine,” says Mewett.
What gets rewarded gets done first. If employees are being measured on more than one thing at a time, they will choose their own priorities. Consciously or subconsciously, we tend to seek out ‘reward.’ Whether that reward is a group lunch or cash or gifts or tickets or a corner office has a lot to do with motivation and subsequent actions and consequences. Because rewards can be very motivating, companies must ensure that they are aligned with organizational goals.
In the end, be careful what you select – to manage, to measure and to reward. Be sure, notes Mewett that the resulting behavior modifications are in the best interests of your organization. Then you too can experience firsthand the benefit of these powerful rules.