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Measurement, behavior, decisions and KPIs


One of the students on my UCI Class Business Goals for Predictive Analytics quoted his mentor in a discussion we were having about cross-referencing metrics or KPIs with the decisions that influence them.


Only measure those things you are willing to change and be willing to change the things you measure.


I really liked this quote because it summed up one the reasons we use this metric/KPI to decision mapping technique so much: Most organizations have already committed to measuring certain things. If you apply this quote – and you should – then you should be willing to change your behavior if doing so will improve your measures. Changing behavior, of course, means making different decisions (or helping others make different decisions). For many organizations this immediately creates a challenge as they have no idea which decisions are being made that will impact any given metric.

To focus on improving decision-making in a way that will make a difference to their metrics they need to know what the decisions are, who makes them and where/when they are made. Starting with a set of metrics or KPIs and identifying the decisions that impact them is a really interesting exercise – especially as you think about increasingly operational, granular decisions about a single customer or single transaction. Realizing that a particular metric can only be improved by improving the decision-making of call center staff or the website really focuses people on how to operationalize analytics and on decision management!


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