Seek to Understand before seeking to Solve

Over the last few months, we’ve been working with a number of organizations that are fundamentally re-thinking what they should measure, and why. I’m amazed that, time and time again, organizations try to measure success with metrics that don’t align with what they’re trying to accomplish.

This often happens because the underlying issues you want to solve depends on what you see. Some people call this perspective; I like to think of it as your lens.

Phil Verghis

When our team works with clients on data-driven continual process improvement, we examine their teams and processes through a variety of lenses to gain a multi-dimensional view of how well they work together and how they function within the enterprise. That’s how we uncover unexpected truths.

Here is a topical example of the difference a lens can make. Consider the “masking” debate in the United States. Some citizens think wearing a mask in public is the responsible and considerate thing to do, while others think it is an affront to the rights of the individual. Each side sees the same information, yet, based on the lens through which they view the information, they come to completely different conclusions. 

Just knowing there are different lenses, and understanding the viewpoint brought into focus by each, results in a more inclusive and viable solution.

I think we need to take a look at how we identify the measures that truly matter, in life and at work. Metrics should reflect what’s important to an organization, but often they don’t. That’s because we don’t look through enough lenses. Over the next several weeks, I want to take a closer look at the lenses we should peer through to gain the right perspective.

I hope you’ll join me.

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