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How do you measure your organisation's "why"?


As a leader, you know what your organisational purpose is.

Why your organisation exists.


You may even have contributed to defining the purpose.

You definitely have a significant role to play in achieving that purpose.


Why do you need to measure it?

  • You want to avoid people only paying "lip-service" to your organisational purpose. Your colleagues and team, in general, will do what they are measured on. An old cliché - but you see it all the time.

  • You want to actively promote good corporate governance. And if you don't, your stakeholders will eventually (if not soon) call it out.

  • Your competitors are already thinking about it. You know this. You don't want to get left behind.


So how do you measure purpose? What evidence base do you use?


Purpose statements are abstract by nature - how do you measure it then?


Purpose statements are typically abstract, by nature.


This makes measurement more difficult.


But it isn't impossible. All it takes is a bit of ingenuity.


Where do you start - or what could you use to improve what you're already doing?

  1. Measuring Outcomes: ideally, you want to measure progress in terms of what the impact is. Any ‘outcome’ would have clearly defined and measurable characteristics, which could then be tracked over time to monitor progress. Even proxy measures are better than no measures.

  2. Measuring Inputs, by design: in the absence of data to measure the impact, measure the commitment - the activities that are directly purpose-led.

  3. Measuring Inputs, by association: weaker, but if you have neither of the first two, you could measure activities that relate to your purpose, even if they were not deliberately purpose-led.

  4. Surveys: arguably the least reliable form of measurement. Opinion, not fact. Room for bias. The "go to" if none of the options above are feasible. If you're already using them, or thinking about it, consider measuring inputs instead.

You may be thinking: "I have to focus on outcomes; focusing on inputs is a cop-out".

That's not necessarily true - your purpose may have a very distant horizon, or may be part of a bigger challenge (with significant aspects out of your organisation's control). Measuring inputs is better than not measuring performance at all.


What are you doing to measure your purpose?

In a future post we will explore some examples.

Some progressive organisations want to share (with appropriate anonymity) - for the greater good.

After all, your purpose is likely focused on the greater good anyway ...

Public Sector Assurance / Audit Analytics