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Moving from Activity to Results

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Moving from Activity to Results

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Make Success Measurable! A Summary
By Salah Elbakkous, Sr. Sys. Analyst

Douglas K. Smith’s book “Make Success Measurable!” is all about avoiding the trap of performing activities without a clear idea of why exactly we are doing them. In essence, he argues that to be successful, organizations should not engage in activities for which they have no mechanism for judging whether they are worth doing or continuing. To be successful, organizations, advises Smith, need to set up outcome-based goals instead of activity-based goals. Outcome-based goals are SMAART (Specific, Measurable, Aggressive, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound). SMAART goals must have good grammar. Smith defines a goal that has good grammar as one that will have a verb (increase, decrease, etc.), an object, how much, and by when.

Douglas Smith recommends 4 types of metrics or “yardsticks”: 1. Speed/time
2. Cost
3. On spec (according to specification)/expec quality (according to customer expectations) 4. Positive yields (what positive impacts are we trying to accomplish for our customers, for our shareholders, and for ourselves?) Some positive yield metrics are familiar and objective: revenues, profits, and the like. Others are not so familiar. The number of partnering, morale, delighted customers. A good outcome-based goal should have at least one of the first two metrics and at least one of the last two metrics.

In tackling the problem of moving from activity-based goals to SMAART goals and in the process gain clarity and specificity that matter most, Smith suggests an exercise that is composed of a series of five “how?” questions. The following is an example presented by Smith:

|Challenge |Answer | |How would you know success? |We’d do a better job of leading the market. | |How...

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