Now more than ever, is the time to Measure What Matters.

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Now more than ever, is the time to Measure What Matters.

Now more than ever, is the time to Measure What Matters.

A lot of organisations start out with the right intentions when they set out to introduce some sort of performance measurement process. They want to track metrics which help drive organisational objectives and achieve their goals. This however ends up being a messy, tedious process of tracking a multitude of metrics, most of which add little to no value.

So why do organisations fail to measure performance correctly? Taking a quote from accomplished investor John Doerr in his book Measure what matters, he says “We must realise—and act on the realisation—that if we try to focus on everything, we focus on nothing.” This quote helps to highlight that, we should avoid the trap of trying to measure everything. Facebook understood this principle very well, it only focused one metric for years, being user growth…the result as of August 2020 is 2.7 Billion active monthly users.

So, how can your organisation re-look your metrics in order to measure what matters? Well we suggest you follow the following simple steps.

  1. Knowing your why

The first step to measuring what matters is to know your “why”. Knowing your “why” is simply knowing your purpose or mission. This guiding principle is what helps your organisation prioritise effort, resources and focus. Google’s purpose or mission for example, is “to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” This purpose or mission helps Google select the things they need to say NO to. Microsoft’s original purpose was to put a PC on every desk which they have largely achieved. Starting with your “WHY” especially in this pandemic is so important because there are limited resources to go by and will help your organisation understand what you need to focus on in order to not only survive but thrive in the current environment.

  1. Clear Objectives

Once you have bedded down your “WHY”, you now need to focus on your objectives which represent your “WHAT”. Your objectives must be specific and if possible time-bound. Objectives help organisations narrow down their focus to what they want to achieve. A good example of a clear objective is what YouTube defined in 2012. The objective was to “Reach 1 billion hours of watch time per day by 2016”. This objective helped their engineering, product development, marketing and other teams to focus all their efforts on the clearly defined objective.

  1. Have a process

The third and final step is to define the process of how you are going to achieve your objectives. How you will achieve your objectives also determines what you are going to measure. This is normally where organisations just lose it, they try to have too many KPI’s/ Key results/Measures. It is important that what you measure at the “how” stage is not a checklist, but simply key metrics which will help track how far you are from achieving your objectives. You can build your checklist from the key metrics but not vice versa. Examples of key metrics can be best seen in the example below which combines all aspects discussed in the article.


Purpose Why To help employees save by digitising manual workforce processes
Objective What To enroll at least 200 000 new users by 2022
Key Metrics How 1.     Efficiently identify prospects (currently using manual workforce processes) – Measured by the number of targeted outbound e-mails sent per month

2.     Tailor make our e-mail subject line to ensure it is relevant to our prospects – Measured by the number of people who open our e-mails

3.    Ensure our message is clear and succinct – measured by the number of e-mail responses we receive

4.     Ensure our proposed solution solves our prospects’ problem – Measured by the amount of interest from prospects


So why is it more relevant now to measure what matters

  1. We are in a COVID 19 pandemic and every organisation is trying to survive, so you cannot afford to waste time measuring irrelevant metrics
  2. Employees are working from home and you need to ensure that they are working on what matters and that you are able to track the value they are delivering to the organisation
  3. Everyone is looking for value – measuring what matters will help you focus, create and deliver value to your clients’ needs


John Doerr – Measure What Matters: OKRs: The Simple Idea that Drives 10x Growth –

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