5 Conversation Starters to Reframe Measurement’s Relationship to Change

by Stacey Barr

If your colleagues don’t yet see how performance measurement supports change, try these 5 triggers to reframe the relationship.

What questions would you ask them to help someone appreciate measurement's essential role in change? Credit: https://www.istockphoto.com/portfolio/oatawa

When change is exhausting and overwhelming, that last thing we should do is delay the one thing that will bring the clarity and alignment we need to get through that change!

There are three specific ways that better measurement boosts the success of change initiatives: articulating clear results, strengthening ownership of change results, and seeing the results achieved. And nothing else can do this. But not everyone will immediately appreciate this.

To help your colleagues come around to the idea that better measurement can make overwhelming change easier and more successful, here are five conversation-starting questions. These questions will help your colleagues to test if their change initiative is ready for success, or if they need to bring some better measurement practices into that change project:

  • Question 1: How would we explain to a 10-year-old what the impact of this change initiative should be? This helps us use words that everyone can understand, that can make that impact more easily measurable.
  • Question 2: Why is this impact important? What other strategically important outcomes does it help us achieve? This helps us align the change to what matters most, and make it easier for people to see how they connect to it.
  • Question 3: What would we see or touch or hear around us that would convince us – and every other stakeholder – that the change’s impact happened successfully? Evidence is the foundation of good measures. Measures quantify evidence so we can track how much or how often it’s happening over time.
  • Question 4: How could we quantify the most convincing of this evidence, to track over time? Easy, proxy measures can be your starting point. It’s great practice, and will likely be better than nothing and better than poor measures that just count activity and milestones.
  • Question 5: Are we prepared to know the truth about the change initiative, even if we found out it’s not working? One of the unspoken truths about delaying better measurement for some, is that they don’t want to know the truth. So be careful to avoid pushing measurement into a place it is fundamentally not welcome.

Use these questions to warm your colleagues up to thinking about their change initiatives in a measurable way. And instead of delaying better performance measurement because of too much change, use it to make the existing change initiatives succeed.

Not everyone appreciates measurement’s essential role in change. What questions would you ask them to help them appreciate it? [tweet this]

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