Measure Once, Cut Twice: How To Remove Duplication and Distrust From Your Performance Measures

by Stacey Barr |

It happens all the time: we inadvertently measure the same thing, more than once in our businesses and end up with two or more different versions of the truth.

The four perspectives that comprise the Balanced Scorecard are Financial, Customer, Internal Business Processes, and Learning and Growth. Credit:

Not only does it waste effort in the measurement process, but it wastes time in decision making. Which version of the truth do you trust?

Whenever this nasty problem shows up, here are 5 ways you can cut it back down to size:

1. Make sure the two (or more) measures aren’t in fact rightfully tracking different results, and if they are, rename the measures to reflect their difference.

2. Get clear who owns the measure: who is the right person to use it, the right person to decide the technical definition, the right person to report it. Everyone else can probably save their time and end their involvement with the measure.

3. Adopt the habit of including the measure’s calculation where ever it is reported, to at least avoid the confusion that comes about when two seemingly identical measures tell different stories.

4. Automate reporting of the measure, so it’s always sourcing the right data in the right way, and can be sliced and diced for those who want a tailored version of it, with controlled consistency.

5. Create a single definition of how the measure should be measured, and add it to your corporate performance measure dictionary.

Don’t tolerate the wasted time, effort and missed opportunity that multiple versions of the truth spawn in your performance measurement process.


One of the most useful things you can do, to quit duplicating your measures, is get organised. And this means having a corporate approach to defining and documenting your measures. One version of the truth, in a single point of reference. Create a Performance Measure Definition Dictionary for your organisation, and internally market its benefits so more and more people will use it.


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