Why Might an Improvement Team Consider Collecting Balancing Measures?

Why Might an Improvement Team Consider Collecting Balancing Measures?

Imagine you’re part of a team working hard to make things better in your workplace. You might be trying to improve how quickly customers are served, how smoothly a process runs, or how safe a work environment is. When you make changes, it’s important to know if those changes are really making things better. This is where “balancing measures” come into play.

But what exactly are balancing measures, and Why Might an Improvement Team Consider Collecting Balancing Measures? Let’s explore this in simple terms.

What Are Balancing Measures?

Balancing measures are a type of data that help you see the whole picture when you make a change. They show you if the changes you are making to improve one part of your work are causing problems in another part. For example, if you speed up production, a balancing measure might check if the quality of the product is staying high.

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Why Are Balancing Measures Important?

Avoid Unintended Consequences

When you focus on improving one aspect, like making a process faster, you might not notice that this improvement is causing issues somewhere else. Balancing measures help you catch these problems early. For example, speeding up a machine to produce more items might lead to more breakdowns or a higher number of defective products. Balancing measures would show you these side effects.

Maintain Quality

Improvements often aim to make things faster or cheaper. However, it’s crucial that these changes don’t reduce the quality of the final product or service. Balancing measures help ensure that while you might be producing more, the quality isn’t dropping. If you’re serving customers faster, a balancing measure would check if customer satisfaction remains high.

Ensure Safety

Safety is another critical area where balancing measures are useful. Suppose you make changes to increase efficiency in a factory. A balancing measure would help you ensure that these changes don’t make the workplace more dangerous. You might look at the number of accidents or near misses before and after the change.

Promote Sustainable Improvements

Balancing measures help you see if the improvements are sustainable over the long term. Short-term gains are great, but if they lead to long-term problems, they aren’t really improvements. For example, if a new work process saves time but exhausts employees, leading to high turnover, it’s not sustainable. Balancing measures would help you notice this issue.

Provide a Complete View

Without balancing measures, you might think your changes are perfect because you’re only looking at the benefits. But real improvements are about finding the right balance. For example, a hospital might reduce the time patients wait for surgery (a positive change), but balancing measures could show if patients are experiencing more complications (a negative side effect). This helps provide a full view of the impact of changes.

How to Choose Balancing Measures

Choosing the right balancing measures is key to making them useful. Here are some steps to help:

1. Identify Potential Side Effects

Think about what could go wrong when you make a change. If you’re improving speed, consider if this could impact quality. If you’re reducing costs, consider if this could affect employee morale.

2. Select Relevant Measures

Select measures that are related to the potential side effects you’ve identified. For example, if you’re concerned about quality, measures could include the number of defects or customer complaints. If you’re worried about safety, measures could include the number of accidents or safety incidents.

3. Use Existing Data

Often, you don’t need to start from scratch. Use data that is already being collected if it’s relevant. This makes it easier and quicker to implement balancing measures.

4. Regularly Review and Adjust

Balancing measures should be reviewed regularly to ensure they are still relevant and accurate. If you notice new side effects, adjust your measures accordingly.

Examples of Balancing Measures in Different Industries


In healthcare, if a hospital aims to reduce patient wait times, balancing measures could include tracking patient outcomes, patient satisfaction scores and readmission rates to ensure that quicker service does not compromise care quality.


In manufacturing, if a company speeds up its production line to increase output, balancing measures could include monitoring machine maintenance needs, defect rates, and worker overtime hours to ensure that the increased speed doesn’t lead to higher breakdowns, poor product quality, or employee burnout.

Customer Service

In customer service, if a call center wants to reduce call handling time, balancing measures could include customer satisfaction scores and the number of repeat calls to ensure that quicker calls do not lead to unresolved issues or unhappy customers.


In education, if a school implements a new teaching method to improve test scores, balancing measures could include student engagement levels, attendance rates, and feedback from students and parents to ensure that higher test scores do not lead to student disengagement or increased absenteeism.

Challenges in Using Balancing Measures

While balancing measures are essential, they can also come with challenges:


Collecting and analyzing balancing measures can be complex and require additional resources. However, the benefits often outweigh the effort as they provide critical insights into the true impact of changes.

Resistance to Change

Sometimes, teams may resist using balancing measures because they fear the additional scrutiny or the potential to uncover negative side effects. It’s important to foster a culture that views balancing measures as a tool for improvement rather than criticism.

Choosing the Right Measures

Identifying the right balancing measures can be tricky. It needs a profound understanding of the processes and potential side effects. Teams may need to experiment and adjust their measures over time to find the most effective ones.

Also read: How Can You Use Mastering to Develop a Growth Mindset and Embrace Your Mistakes?


At last collecting balancing measures is crucial for any improvement team. They help you see the full picture of the impact of your changes, avoid unintended consequences, maintain quality, ensure safety, and promote sustainable improvements. By carefully choosing and regularly reviewing these measures, you can make good and more informed decisions and truly enhance your processes and outcomes. So, next time you plan an improvement, remember to balance it out!

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