What is measured is completed.

Two weeks ago, I introduced the concept of the immovable middle, the idea that when driving big change sometimes middle managers are left behind.

Fifteen years ago, I converted our old farmhouse into an Airbnb. Upon starting the business, I measured everything. We looked at occupancy rates, advertising effectiveness, lead time for rental by season, guest satisfaction, pre and post guest cleanliness, and more. In the early days, these measures helped me to predict when and how often the house would be rented, the best seasons for business, and things that we needed to do to improve customer satisfaction. 

Over time we discovered some of these measures didn’t provide indicators for the types of change we found important to make. Now, we only look at occupancy rates and customers satisfaction.

Professionally, I was once involved in a strategic, mission critical project. It was all hands-on deck. Among other things, I was responsible for working with each of the functions involved to identify measures they were using to gauge success. In every function, I worked with middle managers to collect this information. 

By every measure, this project was successful. Of course, the measures themselves weren’t responsible for the success, but we did use them to determine our success. There were several features of the project that created this successful outcome; one important one was middle-manager involvement. Without their work on processes, functional interdependencies, and measures, I’m quite sure we would not have been nearly as successful.

If you are struggling to find ways to productively enroll your middle managers in a change you are driving, ask them to define measures of success for their respective areas. They will have the visibility to the workflow and the detail required to effectively define these measures. They will be in the best position to identify, rationalize and ultimately gauge the measures that define the success of your initiative.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this article. Please go out to LinkedIn to add your comments.

Dedicated to your profitable transformation,


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