Does Your Measurement = Motivation?

board development and revitalization inquiry and transparency oversight and accountability: measurement Dec 19, 2023
Does Your Measurement = Motivation?


What motivates your Board? What motivates your Chief Executive Officer or Executive Director? What motivates your staff? What motivates your funders and donors? The answer may be as simple as one word: measurement.

What gets measured gets managed, so said management guru Peter Drucker, recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. And he and many others have written on the theme, from primary education to corporate finance.

Jack Stack has written on “open book management,” where all employees learn how to read the financial statements and can see numerical goals alongside individual performance numbers on boards around the office. Daily goals and public accountability were combined with daily rewards and public recognition.


Essentially measurement = motivation.


Some of this work is taken from game design, where one learns to assess and understand the factors that motivate players in a game. This can include elements like achievement, competition, social interaction, and immersion.

Yet most of these innovations (remember “process reengineering” and “self-managing teams”?) have only limited effects on performance as they too often focus on the methods (the how) and results (the what) but not reasons (the why). They help to show what must be done to improve performance but not why they should care. 

But we know that we do better when our staff (and board!) care not just about quality, efficiency, or any other single performance variable but about the same thing that senior managers are supposed to care about: the success of the business. So how does this translate for us?

The two basic questions are what do you measure? And why?


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Everything comes back to your mission – why you are there as a board and why you are there as a CEO or Executive Director – to advance your mission.

How do you align programs and services with your mission? How do you motivate your board members and staff with the why – the critical importance of your mission to your community?

How do you determine then the roles and responsibilities of individual board members and staff to advance that mission, to indeed accomplish your mission?

So review your mission. How is it achievable? By what measures? What are the building blocks? And how do you measure contributions and success?

And how do you hold each other accountable?

Motivating the board (hello, Chair!) and the staff (hello, CEO!) are major responsibilities if you do indeed care about your mission and your community. Reflect. Review. And make it work. It is important.


What are your main “pain points” dealing with motivation?

What advice would be most helpful to you?
And we always assume that you are asking for a friend!




Get Motivated!

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P.S. May I ask a tiny favour? Would you mind sharing this blog with one person? I would love it. You can post the links in your Facebook Groups, LinkedIn or even send an email.

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