By Jeff Brunings
Why Focus is Measured in Days, Not Months

Bottom up is the new top down. You’ve heard us say it before.

Sure, collaboration and engagement are key during strategy design, but it’s still a top down approach led by leaders, as it should be. But what happens in the weeks and months that follow? How can sustainability be driven from the bottom up within an organization?

What role does measurements and targets have in driving results from the bottom up?

Let’s do a little exercise:

Step One: Take out a piece of paper. Sketch out three columns. In the first column write down each of the measurements you or your team is responsible for achieving. In the second column write the corresponding target for each measurement. In the third column, write down the frequency for when the measurement is captured and reported out to team members and management.

What’s the frequency of reporting performance? Is it monthly, quarterly, perhaps even annually?

Step Two: Now, go back to that same piece of paper. Sketch out another three columns. Think of something that’s really important to you – something that captures your continuous focus and attention. Maybe it’s an activity, a hobby, or something that really defines who you are as an individual. Write it down in the first column. In the second column write down a few things you use to measure if you’re good at it. In the third column, write down the frequency of how often you think about if you’re good at it.

What’s the frequency? Weekly, daily, hourly?

So, here’s the million dollar question: Why is the frequency different for things that matter to you personally vs. those that matter to you at work? Shouldn’t they be the same? The reasons why the frequency of measurements in our professional lives is different is because we were always told when we should do them. Think again. To keep professional priorities top-of-mind and to maintain sustainable focus requires a tighter frequency.

Ok, I’m convinced. Where do I start?

  • First, prioritize. Find the measurements that are most important to your organization right now.
  • Determine how you’ll capture the data, preferably on a weekly basis. The goal is to visually represent performance. If you have a scorecard, use it. Or, you can see an example of how we do it here.
  • Tap into an existing weekly meeting, or create one if you must, to review performance measured in days, not months. The owner of each measurement is responsible for updating it each week, and reviewing key actions taken, as well as actions coming up on the horizon.

You’ll find the impact of measuring focus in days, not months has immediate impact. Your teams will more quickly see the impact of their actions. Responsiveness to change is more immediate. And most importantly, consistent focus on the things that matter most is recognized.

Jeff Brunings

With over 20 years management experience in multi-industry environments, Jeff drives customer experience by advancing the effectiveness of OnStrategy’s cloud-based platform and services.