The mother of level measurements
On this day in 1902, pioneering cookbook author Fannie Farmer opened Miss Farmer’s School of Cookery in Boston.
Why am I telling you this?
Well, Miss Farmer revolutionised the way Americans prepared food by advocating the use of standardised measures in recipes. Her belief was:
“Correct measurements are absolutely necessary to insure the best results. Good judgment, with experience, has taught some to measure by sight; but the majority need definite guides.”
The importance of measurement is everywhere, and remains one of the most common conversations I have with entrepreneurs and corporates in every sector I come across (over 50 now). Setting up your own systems and measures means you can see if there is an issue well before it becomes a problem. It might just be a blip or a bad day that you can choose to ignore or monitor for a while, but if you ‘don’t know’ then you are running blind.
3 quick steps for effective measurement:
- Set up your system correctly and put the right people in the right roles with the right amount of motivation, direction and enthusiasm. It’s only then that you can start measuring your system.
- Alerts and Alarms operating in your business must be activated in real time. It amazes me that most business owners, even lots of really sizeable companies, do not know how they are performing until their accountant presents them with a set of year-end figures. How can you possibly deal with a problem that far in the past?
- Ensure that each member of your team knows what 100% looks like for them, in their role. This should not be a hardship or a ‘ruling with a rod of iron’ scenario, but simply an employee delivering exactly what is reasonably expected of them (100%) in return for 100% of their salary. A fair deal! When you add to this the precursor that they no longer see their role as merely a job, but as an important part of a joint vision which they have entered into, this is fairly straightforward. In fact, they will appreciate the support. The key here is the willingness to do it, not the having to do it.
Things do go wrong from time to time, the unexpected or unfortunate does happen, but if you have a robust system you can either work through it or make the necessary adjustments – instantly.
Your measures will be intrinsically linked to the actions which you take when the alarms go off…an article in its own right for another day!
Let us know how you get on.
PS. What of Miss Farmer? Well her cookbook is still in print today, over 100 years after its first printing.