The Importance of Standards and Goals
In the running of a ship, standards are minimums below which performance cannot fall. These can apply to people, individual equipment performance, and systems. Training and maintenance are commonly identified as critical ingredients required to inspect to assure standards are met and sustained.
Contrast standards with goals. A goal may be aspirational, might be achieved, or might not be achieved. Sometimes a goal is effectively something on the horizon, often just out of reach. If a goal is attained, it can readily be reset to a higher level for further improved progress. Goals should always be notably higher than the required minimums.
But how do we know where we stand relative to our standards and goals?
The Role of Inspection in Ensuring Excellence
Standards are often observed through some form of inspection: a personnel qualification process, a review by a senior who has expertise, or literally an inspection of adherence by an inside or outside inspection team. In testing for interim progress toward standardization, the refrain in the Navy is, “you get what you inspect.” The motto suggests that some form of extra motivation is required to make sure the standard is met.
We can argue whether inspection fits in today’s Navy, or even in your company.
But if you don’t inspect, how will you know? The answer lies in measures.
Metrics that Matter: Navigating Business Success
There are myriad ways to measure the success of your company, each of which should be tied to revenue and profitability in some way—if not, then what’s the point?
- Retention percentage. What is your employee turnover rate?
- Revenue per: square foot, employee, unit produced, customer, or day
- Compliance or certifications of employees, including knowledge tests
- Share value
- Market share
- Project status vs advertised schedule
- Percentage completion of a milestone
- Lost workdays
- Days since a reportable safety incident
Do you currently measure any of these items in your business?
If yes, great. If not, what is the ONE metric that you know tells you when things are on or off track?
Do the things you measure require extra action in order to take the measurement? Or is the measured item something that is readily discerned within your normal operations?
If you aren’t measuring, you really don’t know where you are. You may be meeting targets, but you don’t know if some issue or problem may be seeping into your business or out of your profitability. You can’t see trends without measures.
Are you getting what you inspect? Or are you getting what you expect? It matters.
Need assistance engaging with the federal government for policy or accessing funding for your product? Reach out, and I’ll guide you through.
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