I recently watched the Tom Cruise classic, Jerry Maguire. When Cuba Gooding’s character, Rod Tidwell, had Jerry yelling “Show Me the Money!” he was really talking about results. Jerry had all sorts of promises, but Rod wanted results, and results meant a new, fat, big-dollar contract. Well, in some recent discussions I’ve had with senior executives, they are voicing the same concern — “Show Me the Results.” Whether it’s from a new core administration system or a new sales strategy or even a new organization and processing structure, it is time to see some payback — payback in the form of tangible results such as lower operating expense, increased sales, higher capacity, and improved customer experiences.

The problem?? A lot of time and resources go into justifying a project or a new system. Yet, relatively scant efforts go into objectively measuring results. But it is this discipline that separates strong, successful companies from those that accept large leaps of faith and struggle to keep pace with the evolution taking place around them. It’s déjà vu all over again with the proliferation of analytics initiatives of every size and flavor. Spend the money and hope it pays off. The book, Hope is Not a Method, by Gordon Sullivan (no relation) warns of the perils of that approach.

Measurement has been a core element of The Nolan Company’s services for over 40 years. Believe me, we know how impactful it is and how difficult it can be to get it right. But making measurement part and parcel of your core management practices also makes it part of your company culture — it becomes “business as usual.” Employees understand it, expect it, and begin to frame projects as investments instead of expenses. And with every investment, there is an expected return.

Take a hard look at your current management practices around improving systems, organization, processes, and customer interactions. Are you defining expected outcomes up front and then faithfully measuring results against those expectations? Are your vendors and employees accountable for their results? Be your own company’s Rod Tidwell and say “Show Me the Money!”