Recently I ran across Leading Without Power: Finding Hope in Serving Community, by Max DePree. He’s an author who I’ve enjoyed in the past, especially his Leadership is an Art. DePree has some interesting insights, particularly in Chapter 4, “What Shall We Measure?” “In my experience a failure to make a conscious decision about what it is we’re going to measure often causes discombobulation and a lack of effectiveness and a lack of achievement… when it comes for non-profits to measure we’re not nearly as specific as we ought to be.” “Yet measurement is essential in an organization for several reasons. It’s directly connected to the way an organization can mature and grow. And it directly affects whether or not we’re going to reach our potential—how close we’re going to come to our potential. The idea of measurement in an organization is also directly connected to the whole concept of renewal, one of the essential ingredients of which is abandonment. What are we going to give up? What are we going to abandon? None of us have unlimited resources.” “The task of stating just exactly what to measure falls to the leaders in organizations. It’s not an easy job, and finding what to measure won’t happen automatically.” “It’s so easy to fall into the trap of measuring only what’s easy to measure.” The challenge is how do you measure outcomes (e.g. lives changed) rather than just outputs (number of people served). This is a difficult topic, which is why we spend a fair amount of time on it three of our LEAD classes.