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Friday, December 7, 2012

Measuring Results on a Campaign: Why it's Important

This article and study measures a very real business-phenomenon: stressing hours over measurable results. And on a campaign, a similar problem exists. People value showing up more than they value your actual production. People who hang around or are always present get more respect than those who show up less, but produce more.

This is why, on any campaign, you should measure the production of whatever someone is supposed to do. If they're making phone calls, you can track phone calls. If they're fundraising, you can track and measure the fundraising. If they're doing voter identification, you can track the number of records in their database. But everything should be tracked. You should also do random checks within their data and results to make sure there isn't cheating or false reports.

That said, there are very real problems with running a campaign like this, where you only look at numbers. You have to keep a big picture. You have to keep it all in perspective. But these numbers can help you identify problems early, and they can help you appreciate and reward those who are producing great things for your campaign or organization even though they might not look like it.

An old boss related a tale to me about starting in my department at a political organization in DC. When he came in, he was told that one guy was awesome, let's call him Tim. And another guy was horrible they said, let's call him Brian. Everyone loved Tim and disliked Brian. Tim showed up on time, went to all the important events, and everyone knew that Tim worked hard long hours and was a friend to everyone. No one saw Brian very often, didn't know what he did, and he always seemed withdrawn. Tim was a team player and Brian wasn't. My old boss, Steve, measured the output before he fired Brian though. He wanted to check before he did.

He was startled to find out that Tim never did his work, passing it along to others. Tim hadn't produced anything in several months. Brian was the most cost-effective member of the department. Brian was carrying the load for the entire department and was never around because he was out doing what his job told him to do. Because Tim was adept at office politics, he seemed like the star. Because Brian was working tirelessly, he never had time for the office happy hour or the other social events.

Steve fired Tim and never looked back. Everyone thought Steve was crazy because Tim was such a star. Steve rewarded and praised Brian, and the department had its most productive and most efficient production in several years.

Measurable results can tell you a lot, and they can break apart the hype. They can help you identify areas of strength and realize areas of weakness. Not just in business, but even on campaigns and in political organizations these business lessons are useful and valuable.

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