Leadership Metrics

Tracking BothBehavior andResults

Tracking Both Behavior and Results

Doing the right things, and doing them well, gives us the best chance of success. Consequently, we need to track both behavior and results.

Employee attitudes and behavior matter. If someone achieves all their targets but does it by fudging the numbers, sweeping problems under the rug, stabbing colleagues in the back, and lying to customers, it would be a disaster. That is not a sustainable way to do business—in addition to being unethical, it is bad for business, bad for your reputation and brand, and bad for your long term competitiveness and viability as an organization.

Even the stodgiest, old school bean counter would be hard pressed to argue against the fact that doing the right things, and doing them well, gives us the best chance of success.

Doing the right things is no guarantee of success, of course. And there is no guarantee that we always know what the right thing to do is. Nevertheless, we have to make our choices and stick to the plan. It’s a far better bet than the opposite, namely, acting randomly, haphazardly, and impulsively—at least where stakeholder satisfaction, capital, and long term survival are at stake.

What are the right things to do? These are the action items we capture in our job descriptions, goal setting, prioritizing, performance plans, KPIs, strategic plans, and so on. How do we make these decisions? Well, that is a much longer story, but I would argue that our best decisions usually come from a combination of gut instinct, solid analysis, debate with our colleagues and employees, and input from our trusted advisors.

Now, since we are not infallible, it is crucial to track our progress to plan, learn from our successes and failures, and continue adjusting to an ever changing world.

This brings us to a very important point. When we track progress to plan, we must track both behavior and results.

We know a lot about tracking results, especially financial results. It is important, of course, to look beyond the financials to customer surveys, employee surveys, 360° feedback surveys, talent management audits…and other balanced scorecard, branding, and social media type metrics.

What does it mean to track behavior?

We track behavior by making sure people are doing what they said they were going to do; executing their part of the plan; doing the right things—and doing them well. I certainly want my employees to do their jobs with quality and care, interest and engagement, intensity and thoughtfulness. The truth is, if you want to have a world class business, your employees have to be far more than mildly interested in their work—they need to be passionate about delivering results for your stakeholders so that your business can compete effectively for capital, customers, and talent.


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