Metrics: If you can’t measure it – don’t mention it

The Peter Drucker phrase “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it” has been around in management training manuals for decades. With some dissenting views, it is widely accepted if not as a business truism, certainly as a useful guideline and management tool.

In career management what is also gaining credibility is the line “If you can’t measure it – don’t mention it.”

I’m a big subscriber to that philosophy.


We are seeing a convergence between the marketing techniques usually associated with entrepreneurs and businesses with individual self promotion (in biz patois, Personal Branding,) with the the same measurable values starting to become applicable. Many balk  at this shift, feeling that people are becoming commoditized. But are they really? All this really involves is simply a move from a task and chronology mindset, to a result, achievement and skills focus.

Just as we don’t care about the detail of the business process for any organisation, we are also starting to expect the same approach on individual resumes and profiles. We don’t care how smart phones are made. We just want to know what they can do for us. When we buy jars and tubes of emulsified chemicals from L’Oreal, we buy products that are hopefully going to  magically transform us – even if it’s only in our imagination. We are buying the added value. Why? Because we are worth it.

Bigger picture

The management accountant who produces monthly reports and forecasts using Bex Analyser and Excel would be better placed telling us what he used that information for, rather than describing the detail of the routine task. If this can be followed with a metric and results so much the better.

When you include “young and dynamic” in your elevator pitch, I need to know what difference that will make to an organisation. If it means you have just graduated at the top of your class with the most up to date mathematical models to support faster analysis of business processes at your finger tips. Tell me that.

These are just two conversations I had this week alone.

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Forget cute, metrics matter!

Very often people are so focused on being cute, zany or idiosyncratic that their message becomes simply verbiage and we have no idea at all what they mean. I am highly literate so always recognise the individual words, but sometimes I have no clue what the person actually does in a joined up sentence. “Effective change agent, crisis manager, business turn around leader.”  A crisis could be a merger, takeover or a blocked loo. What sorts of businesses, crises and changes? What were the outcomes? Can this person do that for us, is the over-riding question of any employer. If it’s not clear and the question has to be asked, the risk of losing the reader (me) has already increased. I have the attention span of a gnat. And I am slow!

Just as when we buy a lap-top we want to have some information on the basic features (weight, operating system, colours, memory, hard drive etc) the main questions will be centred around what value that lap- top can add for us,  how we can benefit from it and how we can best use it for our own purposes.

Job search processes are no different. If a computer had a “buy this computer”   sign on it, wouldn’t you ask “Why? What will it do for me?”

Candidates are no different.

If you need job search help, get in touch NOW

3 thoughts on “Metrics: If you can’t measure it – don’t mention it

  1. Wendy Mason (@WWisewolf)

    Thanks Dorothy – quite right. I find myself spending quite a lot of time with clients trying to persuade them to quantify the benefits they have delivered. It isn’t usually that hard if they are prepared to change the mindset.

  2. Pingback: 10 basic job seeker tips to revisit - 3Plus International

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