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  • Sam Decker

Career Tip #14: Show and Know Metrics

I'm amazed how many employees don’t understand the basics of a P&L. Those who do know how their measures feed the P&L. And, as a result, these are the MVPs because they speak the language of the business (and the CEO!).

I visited my undergrad college, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and met with the Dean of Business Marketing. I told him marketing graduates need to be more analytically-capable and trained than they were when I went to school. He agreed, and in fact they were in the midst of planning restructuring of the curriculum to focus on analytics.

Demonstrating focus and proficiency in measurement will help your career. By showing a command of measuring your activities, you will appear in much better control of your area…and thus be given more responsibility. Executives will have more confidence in employees who can manage and measure, and are comforted by employees who can speak and present in their language.

However, don’t make the mistake of getting stuck on the guard-rail of INTERNAL measures. Balance your perspective with customer feedback, customer measures, and creative thinking. Make some principle-based decisions on behalf of the customer. Forego short term profit for long term gain, as Toyota does.

As an aside, at Toyota, a very efficient and measured company, they stress eight forms of waste. The first seven are overproduction, waiting, unnecessary movement, inappropriate process, unnecessary inventory, and defects. The newest form of waste, number eight is the underutilization of skills and creative thinking in your employees!


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