Can I Improve What I Don’t Measure?

September 1, 2011 at 12:04 am Leave a comment

Someone once said, “If you can’t measure something, you can’t understand it. If you can’t understand it, you can’t control it. If you can’t control it, you can’t improve it.”

As a CME professional wanting to improve individual CME activities my organization offers and my overall program I have to have points of measurement of value to me, my learners, and my organization. Things I want to measure to see if we are improving and to show my learners and my organization that we are having a mission focused impact.

Measurement is all around us.

  • Companies measure their sales
  • Golfers keep track of their scores – hopefully they are honest abut their scores
  • Fisherman know how many fish they catch even though the biggest ones seem to get bigger all of the time
  • Weathermen measure barometric pressures, temperatures, humidity, wind chill factors, hurricane wind forces, and many other things
  • Advertisers measure the number of people who respond to ads
  • Online shopping sites track the conversion rate of website visitors to customers
  • Customer service centers measure how long customers are on hold
  •   TV and radio stations know how many viewers and listeners they have

Like these “measurements”, if we don’t measure our performance, how will we know if we are improving? What gets measured gets done. The very nature of knowing that something is being monitored causes us to work harder and perform better. There’s actually proof of this—it’s called the Hawthorne Effect.
When we measure our performance, positive things happen:

  • We can set goals and evaluate our progress.
  •  We know exactly where we stand.
  • We can identify key aspects of the services we provide that we want to improve.
  • We are able to see the results of our improvements.
  • We can quickly and accurately trouble shoot problems

To develop or improve we need several things:
• We need to know our starting point. This is the point from which all our progress will be measured.
• We need to determine how we are going to measure our progress.
• We need an endpoint. Without a clear idea of where we are headed and what we wish to accomplish, we will never know when we get there?
• We need to know what is causing us to not be where we want to be.

We can’t improve what we don’t measure. When we track and measure our results we have new benchmarks to use to improve upon the next month. If we focus on improving our results month after month, we begin to see amazing changes take place in our performance and the results we are trying to achieve in our overall CME program.

Getting Started

  1. Make a list of the things you want to improve and choose one that deserves your attention.
  2. Document your starting point by measuring the current situation? This is the beginning of your own gap analysis.Define what your desired situation will look like.
  3. Carefully determine the root causes of the gap between your current and desired situation.
  4. Select activities that, if done correctly, will help you achieve your desired results?
  5. Determine the key factors and potential barriers that will influence your success.Measure your results.
  6. Go back to your starting point and determine the impact of your efforts.
  7. Reboot. Start all over again.

When we measure what we do and how well we do it, we see refinements we can make. As we make small improvements day after day and week after week, nothing can stop us from achieving our goals.

How do you do this? I use A3 Problem Solving. Look it up.


Entry filed under: CME Issues, Improvement. Tags: , , , , , , .

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