One Last Word (for now) On
Measuring and Metrics
for Desired Results
After I re-read the post from last Friday, I realized I needed to say a few more (AND FINAL) things about METRICS.
First, it hit me that there is hard work involved in this and that is probably why we rarely do this kind of work. Most of us are busy and this seems way too demanding. So we neglect it and just chug away, doing what we have been doing. And assuming that we are generating results.
If you can, be sure to read, Good to Great and the Social Sectors by Jim Collins. It is a short monograph where Collins applies his awesome principles in a way they are more useful for the church and missional organizations.
There are a few guidelines to remember as you determine your METRICS.
I'll use a case study for brief comments. We are in the process of planning new short courses on a vareity of spiritual disciplines for the sake of spiritual formation at our church.
First, it costs time and money to do the work of evaluation and measurement, so make sure you do it in a financially wise way.
Second, be sure you are measuring what is important. Don't measure the wrong thing. As the last post suggested, numbers are the easiest thing to measure, and in the case of the Social Sector, not the right thing to measure.
One course we are designing is a new one on Lectio Divina (a way of spiritual reflection on the Scripture). It could be useful to measure how many times a person does Lectio Divina. If our goal is to have people doing it three or four times a week, it is easy to measure if they are doing that. However, that is a quantitative goal. What if our goal is that people have the experience of personally connecting with the leading of the Holy Spirit as they read the Scriptures? That is more subjective and harder to measure. But, it is a better metric than simple number of times they practice lectio divina.
Third, realize how easy it is to talk in generalities. More, less, greater, larger, smaller, etc. are much too imprecise to be helpful. All they "may" do is point in the direction of movement (for better or worse).
Our goal is for you to be "more loving." Or "more in tune with God's Spirit." Or to "have a greater sense of God's presence with you." Now, this may be helpful, but it is very generic, quite nebulous and therefore, capable of great misinterpretation as to what is actually happening. We need to find ways to assess if someone is becoming more loving... or more in tune with God's Spirit... or living with a greater sense of God's presence.
Fourth, do your measuring and assessing at appropriate times. Frequent assessent is needed. For example, we are planning some new courses for spiritual formation. It will be appropriate to do assessment work at the end of EACH course.
Fifth, any evaluating needs to be action oriented. All metrics need to be for the sake of more results.
As we sit down with any person and process their experiences, the reason for this is so they may move more fully toward the desired results
I'll say it one more time. I know this is hard work. But, if you value your work, if you believe in what you are doing, if you truly want sustained results, then you must do this kind of planning and ongoing assessment.
Maybe you simply want to gather a few peope around and throw out this question(s):
So - how are we doing?
And how do we know how we are doing?
Grace and wisdom on this part of the leadership journey.
Brian K. Rice
Leadership ConneXtions International