How do you make sure you’re doing what you think you are? Metrics matter, and it’s about more than numbers. If this isn’t a top priority for someone in your organization, it should be. And here’s why–vulnerability. What you don’t know can hurt you. (Here’s one dramatic example.)
Here’s the good news. This effort doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Even if you don’t have one database to pull from right away, you can start by pulling significant insight about audience behaviors and trends (in the numbers and stories) from online stats. You’ll be surprised how quickly those snapshots reveal what’s simply activity and what’s actually effective. It’s a quick and free place to start.
This year, my team has rededicated themselves to emphasizing this function as a top priority. There are a number of reasons, but the biggest is responsibility. Many people have and will continue to sacrifice to see our new vision come to fruition. We are committed to being good stewards of the investments of our people by making sure we track our progress. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and the roll out of our new vision won’t be either. By regularly checking and reporting on as many areas of our vision as we can, we’ll make sure the bigger goal doesn’t get lost in the daily details.
How are we doing it? In a word–advocate. When everybody’s got it, nobody’s got it. In order to close the gap, we’ve grabbed the ball to proactively manage business intelligence (conceptually and practically) on an ongoing basis. It doesn’t mean we’re the data or technical gurus. It doesn’t mean we have all the answers. It simply means we’re keeping this priority in the front of our minds at all times, looking for simple and clean ways to get more data in and out to equip more people by gathering and distributing information horizontally and vertically.
And we’re looking at the whole picture–hard and soft. Many areas of our new vision, success of a series, or influence of an event can be tracked by the stories of the people who have been touched or involved, as well as the attendance, traffic, and giving numbers.
GET GOING! You just need someone to:
- Stimulate conversation. Establish context for decisions through organized and impromptu discussions. Provide opportunities for information exchange between teams.
- Keep an eye out. Watch for and address inconsistencies–in data and systems. With a “shared ownership” mindset, help discover how the pieces fit together and determine next steps to maximize ministry.
- Provide resources. Anticipate people needs and address system concerns by gathering and distributing information horizontally and vertically. It doesn’t have to be fancy. A simple overview can provide a ton of value to a lot of stakeholders. Here’s a sample of our 2011 Q1 Overview.
“You measure what matters,” right? Well, yes, but that’s only half the story. Because if “you aren’t going to do anything about those numbers, don’t bother measuring.”