Breaking a Trail in the New Frontier
There is a popular saying in business that goes something like this: ‘If you can’t measure it, then you can’t manage it.’ We think most entrepreneurs and leaders fully embrace that mantra, based upon results. Successful organizations across the spectrum, both in the US and on a global platform, embrace metrics measurement as the way to go! In the past few months however, some new entrepreneurs with new visions of organizational accountability are turning the mantra upside down. Their premise is that you don’t need metrics to determine value or performance. Just listen to the customer, render a great service or product and sell! Everything else will fall into place. This new vision of business operation has sent shockwaves through corporate offices worldwide. To substantiate their premise, these groundbreaking entrepreneurs are heading up companies that have multi-million dollar financials to support their assertions. Might be hard to argue with success.
A Free Style Spirit With Metrics
So here is the theory that they are following: first off, take away accountability metrics. They feel that these metrics are simply just a tool to pound people over the head. The alternative that they profess is that when the metrics accountabilities are gone, the people feel more free to innovate and create. They have the latitude to respond to situations in a more timely and free manner that fits the individual situations. Freedom in the workplace inspires meteoric growth through innovation and creativity. Secondly, without gathering, analyzing and building mountains of reports, they are saving time, money and inspiring people. They are freeing up significant assets that would go to research, analysis and documentation of metrics. With that, instead of placing people in positions to gather, analyze and report the metrics, they allocate those human assets to what builds their business, which is sales, production and service. Have they found the business utopia?
Settling the Frontier with Accountability
As inspirational as that new paradigm may be, it just also may be a paper tiger! Metrics and accountability are supported operational necessities. Just look at some of the largest and most powerful businesses in the world and you will see metrics work! Toyota and GE are good examples – they have become international powerhouses in business. They did not reach that pinnacle of success through a freewheeling workforce and business environment without accountabilities. Their success can be attributed to a focused use of measured metrics and constant willingness to exceed customer expectations. The practice of Lean and Six Sigma have brought that level of focus to those organizations and many others across the globe. From the largest global corporation to the small local entrepreneur, the measurement and monitoring of metrics allows for growth, competition and drives results!
One can argue all day the advantages of a freewheeling business operated without measurement of metrics and accountability, but reality dictates that these measurements are basic fundamentals of business. This debate is one that will bring an interesting conversation into the spotlight.