Organizations want to know if they are achieving their goals. They want to know how and when they reach their strategic objectives. They want a sense of the effort and resources needed to be successful in their ambitions. Without a sense of how well they function, organizations face challenges in attracting and retaining support. In focusing on performance, organizations become fixated on key indicators that represent quantifiable outcomes.
Numbers can capture a precise story of organizational performance. But they will not necessarily provide an accurate narrative of organizational success. Numbers do not explain the mission, vision, or value. Numbers do not communicate the gratitude among stakeholders towards an organization. Numbers do not express the influence an organization has towards institutions and systems.
Numbers and performance indicators are important as a guide for effectiveness and efficiency. Done well and properly, these metrics help to allocate resources and make a case for building support. But they do not, and can not, exist in a vacuum. Doing so ignores other key areas, such as an organization’s relationship with its stakeholders; the value it delivers to the communities it serves, and the influence it exerts towards social progress and systemic change.