Lag vs. Lead Measures – Why Knowing The Differences Are Important


So what’s the difference between a Lag Measure and a Lead Measure? Think in terms of loosing weight. Ever measure your weight on a scale? That’s a lag measure.  A key lead measure to loosing weight might be keeping track how many times a week you exercised 30 minutes a day.  Another lead measure would be, tracking how many calories you ate per day.  Both lead measures will impact the lag measure.

So often, we think that weighing ourselves is the real key measure.  When in reality lag measures are the result of tracking the right lead measures.  These drive the results for the lag measures.  We easily get frustrated when the weight doesn’t come off as quickly as we want.  I know I did when trying to loose weight.

In business we often over look the lead measures in the execution process.  We expect our employees to instinctively know how accomplish the lag measure.

Currently, in my business we are trying to create a compelling score board for our Dispatchers.  The end result we are looking for is great on time performance for my courier company (Mobile One Courier & Logistics).  Our on time performance is our lag measure.  I am learning about lead measures and we are working back to understand what key things drive (no pun intended) our couriers on time performance.  We came up with things like: dispatching the delivery within 5 minutes of taking the order, getting the delivery picked up in 30 minutes and so on. These are true lead measures.  If we do these things, we have a higher probability of improving our on time performance.

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