The question of whether you can ever adequately measure an organization is still open. To the extent that there are statutory and regulatory requirements, such as taxation, SEC or specific industry regulations, the answer is clearly yes. But those measurements are dictated. To measure performance after the fact, at aggregated levels, is only useful to a point. The closer and closer a measurement system gets to the actual events and actions that drive the higher-level numbers, the less reliable the cause-effect relationship becomes, just like Heisenberg found so long ago. There are many examples in the management literature of everyone "doing the right thing" while the wheels are coming off the organization.
Neil Raden is the Founder of Hired Brains, a consulting firm specializing in analytics, business Intelligence and decision management. He is also the co-author of the book "Smart (Enough) Systems." Write him at [email protected]. A version of this article was originally published February 2009 at B-Eye-Network.com
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