Things that get measured improve.

Measuring and reporting continuous improvement metrics shows the organization that continuous improvement work is as essential as all other things you regularly track.

In addition, when people know that you’re tracking the activities and impacts associated with improvement, an increased sense of accountability contributes to engagement.

This is especially true when the metrics are visible, which is why the use of huddleboards to display the current state of improvement projects is so popular and effective.

It becomes natural to align projects with strategic goals.

When improvement projects are tracked and widely shared, it’s easier to determine which projects are aligned with strategic goals and which are outliers. Not every effort will directly impact a stated goal, of course, but the bulk of the work should be aligned with essential objectives.

This isn’t easy to achieve if you don’t have a consistent platform for collecting information about improvement work and a standard method of reporting engagement, activity, and impact metrics.

The discipline of measurement forces people to set smarter goals.

Many organizations are too vague when they discuss their current and future states. For example, they may worry that production costs are too high but fail to document what that means exactly. How much do costs need to come down? By when? Who is responsible?

Without answers to these questions and more, success is unlikely. When you start to track improvements of any type, it is necessary to set SMART goals. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Agreed upon, Realistic, and Time-based.

Everyone has the data to make better decisions.

Making solid decisions that promote the spread of continuous improvement requires data. Having a view into which areas of the organization are struggling and having a consistent, objective way to measure performance helps leaders focus resources for a higher return on improvement investments.

Understanding what types of activities result in high-impact improvements makes it easier to put more energy into efforts that are likely to succeed.

Well-documented improvement efforts earn additional resources.

Tracking the tangible impact of continuous improvement makes it possible to demonstrate for executives how the effort impacts the highly visible metrics they care most about—including profitability and growth. In addition, the ability to point to actual data regarding engagement and activity metrics will give leaders confidence that the improvement culture is indeed alive and growing.