When performance is measured, performance improves

20 Feb 2019
James Butcher Avatar
James Butcher
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Most people recognise the maxim from their business life, but the concept pervades our personal lives too. Consider the Apple Watch and Health app; how many iPhone users have not checked the ‘health app’ to see their step count at least once? Some of us set a personal target and - surprise, surprise - we walk that little bit more.

Yes, there are dedicated apps that will allow you to set targets, get rewards or receive motivational messages along the way, but that goes beyond the simple maxim, the simple principle that: measure, and it will improve.

What you measure will improve

If you weigh yourself once a week, you will probably eat more salads and eat less fast-food at lunchtime. Record on the fridge when your children have done their homework, and it will bring a focus without the need to reward them; the measurement is enough to drive change.

The same is true with brands . Whether brands measure scope emissions, the amount of organically-grown raw materials in their products , or online customer reviews of their products – whatever you measure will improve.

Sharing performance effects change

The element often lost in the maxim is the need to share information with those that can effect change. For you, it is the health app on your phone reminding you to walk more. For the children, it is the list on the fridge. You need to measure it and share it with the people who can make the change.

In the case of brands, it is their suppliers. Our platform helps brands to achieve their brand strategy (whether that be competitive, environmental or social) and better navigate the volatile and complex market in which they find themselves today.

Accelerate the rate of improvement

For example, there is limited benefit to setting sustainability targets and then only obtaining information around that target whenever the next ESG report is due to be published. The principle of ‘measure and it will improve’ is true because the measure is there – front of mind – and it affects both the conscious and unconscious focus. As Pearson’s Law states: “When performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported back, the rate of improvement accelerates.”

We see this in practice with brands. Share KPIs on compliance and integrity improves. Share KPIs on responsible sourcing and more responsibly sourced products are launched. Share KPIs on carbon emissions and emissions go down.

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