Manage What You Measure: Measure What You Value

Manage What You Measure: Measure What You Value

At the beginning of every business, project, or commercial endeavor of any sort, some generalizations reliably abide. Here’s the short list:

  • Time is measured.
  • Time has monetary value.
  • The more time is at stake, the more money is at risk.
  • The more time you spend managing anything, the more money and opportunity is at risk.
  • Like life, every business, every project, and every commercial endeavor is about choices.
  • You have to choose wisely.

And as you contemplate those generalizations, you also have to consider these questions:

  • What do you know?
  • What don’t you know?
  • Do you know what you don’t know?
  • How much of what you know and don’t know can you control?
  • Is the risk/reward worth the cost/benefit?
  • Are you sure?

Ability is Not Expertise

Given the context in which this post appears, we’re obviously talking about design/build projects. But the point might be more effectively made in another context:

If you have more than one dental crown, you’re likely familiar with the process — take the impression, make the temporary crown, prep the old tooth, insert the temporary crown, send the impression to the lab to have the permanent crown made, wait for it to arrive, pry out the temporary crown, cement in the new one, go eat some peanut brittle. (If you’re really high-tech, you can use some gear like this to scan your yap and make the permanent crown in the comfort of your own home.)

It’s fair to think most of us could do that. Whether we should try it prompts another series of questions:

  • Should we try it?
  • Do we have all the necessary education, skills, and experience?
  • Will we know what challenges we might face or mistakes we might make?
  • Would the initial prospect of savings manifest greater cost in the long run?
  • How many crowns will we have to put in our mouths before we’re efficient and proficient?
  • Do we really want to be accountable for whatever mistakes we make while we’re learning?
  • How much time will that learning take?
  • What else might we do with that learning time?
  • What value do we place on that time?

We feel fairly safe suggesting that if you have other things to do, especially if those other things generate value (to say nothing of revenue), a trip to the dentist will turn out to be a pretty good deal in comparison to the hard costs, the opportunity costs, and the time value of money.

Choose Your Direction

In “My Speech to the Graduates” (from Side Effects), Woody Allen wrote:

Mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly.

We don’t mean to suggest your choices are that dire. But we do mean to convey the importance of choosing wisely. It’s a simple matter of managing what you measure and measuring what you value. If you do those two things, you’ll manage your business, project, and your other commercial endeavors well because you’ll manage your time and your money well.

The only two things more valuable than time and money are family and friends.

Image by geralt, courtesy of

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