What you measure gets attention. What gets attention gets worked on. And what gets worked on is improved.

This is such a basic train of thought, yet how often do we actually lead this way?

Let’s say that the key to your particular business success is developing personal, nurturing relationships with your customers. Yet when you have meetings and talk about progress, you’re showing revenue, expenses, on-time delivery and defects. Where did customer relationships even get mentioned?

I know that in your mind, you have a direct and obvious link between treating customers well and creating more revenue. And that defects and late shipments really damage the trust you’ve tried so hard to nurture.

But from an employee’s point of view, it’s not so obvious. They’re not responsible for making decisions at that higher level, so they worry more about how what they do affects their manager and personal job satisfaction.

Whatever your key added value and differentiator is, measure it. Talk about it. Tell stories about it.

It can be tough, because often the most important things are harder to measure.

But if it’s customer relationships, dive into it. Relate complaint and late-delivery measures to how that damages relationships. Capture stories about when somebody did a stellar job that moved the needle. Look for examples even from other industries.

Your job is to keep people focused on what’s most important.