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Measurement + Research = Improvement, Innovation

You can't manage what you don't measure.

W. Edwards Deming, the father of Total Quality Management (TQM) and the quality movement throughout the world, noted that without measurement, there can be no management. One simply cannot control or manage anything without information, knowledge, trends and/or tracking.

His initial observation begs two questions:

What measurements (i.e., data, reports, and research) do we have in place to help us best manage our organizations?

What measurements (e.g., research) do we need moving forward?

Deming further noted that without measurement, there can be no improvement. For how can you know if something is improved without a baseline measurement against which to compare?

Deming didn't stop there. He stated that without measurement, there can be no meaningful innovation. Management demands innovation, innovation implies improvement, and improvement requires measurement.

You can't manage what you don't measure.

Now when it comes to the financials, credit unions-with appropriate credit-thoroughly embrace and apply this concept. But what about other critical drivers of your credit union's success?

Credit unions need to understand, manage, innovate and improve in other areas as well-each potentially vital to the CU's success. Such areas include surveys and measurements of:

• The member experience,

• The employee experience,

• The CU brand identity (what's working, what's not, what changes are needed),

• Awareness levels of products/services among members,

• Awareness levels of CU non-member eligibility,

• Why members join,

• Why members leave...and more.

The admittedly trite adage, "If you aren't distinct, you will be extinct," still bears a vital message. What are you doing differently (and better) than the competition? And what measurements do you have in place to help you know?

Today's economy demands your credit union be thoughtfully, skillfully managed. And as the adage reminds us: You can't manage what you don't measure.

Neil Goldman is CEO of Goldman Consulting & Strategy (GCS), focusing on organizational development/research, speaking, and planning services. He can be reached at (310) 643-5910 or by email at ngoldman@GCSfirst.

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