Measurement is important in strategy. It defines if that chosen path is being walked to not. But measurement is also used to determine personal and organizational performance. How does one reconcile between a specific personal measure and a stretch goal being measured to determine learning.
Strategy is the answer. If the strategy is to provide a particular service in a transactionally efficient, optimized way, then a measurement that speaks to the transaction is important. Imagine a ground keeping function. Their goal is to maintain the lawn, cutting the grass within seasonal frequency and height requirements. They do this, and they are considered successful.
Imagine, however, a knowledge economy measure, that of presenting the grounds in an appealing way that attracts and retains members. That is a very different goal. The grass cutting may still be a subgoal, but it alone won’t define success. Success requires an aesthetic design, executed well. It means not dead plants, not misplaced bricks or sidewalk torn-up by tree roots. It means creating an executing a survey to determine if the perception of the grounds is in meeting the expectations of those who have been sold on the aesthetic appeal. In other words, the intellectual rigor of design is just as important as the execution of the grass cutting and tree pruning.
Why does strategy matter? Because strategy will help you decide which one is important. It will tell you which goal is desired in the context of what the organization is trying to achieve. In the first case, the strategy may have such severe constraints that it precludes even imagining the later case. In some instances, the later case may be seen as an aspiration or an ideal with a path that maps out how to get there.
On Disney properties, the strategic imperative clearly runs to the later. Efficiency is good, but only in the context of the greater good. If it was all about being efficient and saving money, then the designs would be simpler, the grounds not so elaborate or hard to keep. At Disney, the grounds are part of the experience, and they measure the totality of the experience, not just the speed with which the job is executed.
Many people who have gardeners talk about the “blow and go” mentality. Those business plans are based on volume and throughput. If that is what you want, then you should hire someone who “blows and goes.” If you want an experience at home, you hire someone, for a higher cost, who helps create and maintain an experience.
We all make strategic choices, we just don’t know it. As you measure your organization’s path forward, what are the measurements that you make, and which ones are strategic, and which are meaningless. If the answer is it depends on the context, then you get the point.