It’s that time of year. Several of my friends both at Ebsco and outside Ebsco are talking about their upcoming vacations. It seems like several are headed for the ocean, both Texas and Florida and I’m REALLY jealous. Our grandson, we’re raising is just turning two so we feel it might be a year early to make the ocean trip. I have to admit that chasing him all over the beach isn’t exactly the restful ocean trip I imagine. So, for this year I will need to live vicariously through my friends. Hope I don’t get a vicarious sunburn, I really hate those.
Most of my friends are driving. Some are driving straight through, Tulsa, Ok to Florida. Now that’s the way to start a vacation. Been there and done that. Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida. It’s a LONG WAY! I’m not sure I actually envy them, at least not the drive part. They all have their road maps and GPS’s out, looking at all the alternatives, shortest, fastest, most scenic, least construction, 4 lane or 2 lane. All the journeys start with road map and deciding what route to take. Then the routes are marked, maps are folded, GPS coordinates and way points entered. They are prepared. They aren’t getting lost, that Florida Resort is waiting. They all spend a great deal of time laying out their route and planning the trip. No one wants to waste any vacation time wandering around cluelessly when they have so much fun planned at their destination.
As usual, my mind wanders to work as they relate their upcoming conquests of vacation fun. Probably the reason I’m the one not taking a vacation. Anyone who can take scenes of vacation fun and the beautiful Florida beaches and end up with thoughts of how that relates to making springs probably REALLY needs a vacation and is equally the least likely to take one. Oh well,… never mind that, how does all this relate to Ebsco? Oh yea. The past few weeks I have been talking about the great adventure we are embarking on at Ebsco, E + c s ². I’m sure people are tired of hearing about it and just want to know one thing, “Are we there yet”.
Ebsco’s newest initiative isn’t unlike their Florida vacations. It started with a great deal of discussion about where we wanted to go. If you don’t know where you want to go you will never know when you get there. This is as true in life and business as it is in your vacation. Destin, Panama City or Orlando? Then where do you want to stay, on the beach or close, somewhere large or small and quiet. When do you want to leave and stay for how long? Planning planning planning, almost like a general in an army or a COO at a company. COO at a company, hey that’s me. Guess that is why I don’t find anything strange about Blogging about the similarities of vacations and springs.
After my friends settled on their destinations it was time to start with the map. It is surprising how many routes there are to Florida from Tulsa, Oklahoma. Most destinations seem to have one primary route and then several alternatives. With Florida, it is like there is no primary route, just several alternate routes for you to choose. You consider time, traffic, road quality and points of interest to arrive at THE ROUTE for you. This is it. The path you will take to arrive at your dream vacation. Carefully, you trace it with a highlighter on the map. You write down Interstate numbers and where you turn, stops you will make and every detail of your journey. Then you go to your computer to see if you can get Google Maps to draw out the same thing. Funny, Google never sees it the way you did and you then fool with Google Maps for an hour to get its map to look like yours. Isn’t it great how much time computers and the internet save us. THERE! PERFECT! When you leave for your trip you will put your maps, directions and notes, in your door pocket, tape it to the dash, input it in the GPS and glue it to your forehead. No wrong turns or getting lost on this trip. You are laser focused on the destination.
We’ve done the same thing at Ebsco. Our maps are our Metrics. Metrics are anything that measures our performance and activities at Ebsco. The metrics allow us to look at where we are and compares it to where we said we should be, that keeps us on the appropriate route. You wouldn’t believe how many exist to choose from. We have ways to measure almost anything and spend a great deal of time trying to figure out how to measure the few we can’t. Like the many routes available to Florida we can’t watch every metric available to us. We need to sort them, determine what is really important on our journey and determine the right metrics for us. Just like our Florida trip with different maps for our points of interest stops, we have specific metrics for individual departments at Ebsco, maps within maps. Our final destination was laid out by the boss in the Mission Statement and Ebsco’s Vision Statement. With that in hand we spent several weeks determining which routes, Metrics would serve us best in arriving at the destination during E = m c ². This last week we had a “vacation planning meeting” at Ebsco. I brought in the new list of metrics (the road map) to senior management. We discussed the metrics and what ones would do the best keeping us to our chosen route. When we were done Ms. Dooley, the boss approved the metrics and said let’s get this trip going.
I spent the rest of the week with my highlighter, marking our path. We have created new metrics boards to post our approved metrics in each department. The metrics boards are complete and hung with the new data posted for everyone to see. “Are we there yet?” It’s important that everyone knows where we are and where we need to be for this journey to reach its destination. That’s done.
The maps are in the car and coordinates imputed in the GPS. We still have a few final things to pack but we’re leaving soon. Hope you’re ready.