Great leaders focus on the things that make a business successful, not the things that measure its success.
PRINCIPLES, whether strategic or ethical, are qualitative business building blocks. Results are their quantitative output (the completed structure). You can drive behavior using principles, values, meaning, and purpose. However, there is only one way to measure the outcomes of business, and that is by using quantitative metrics. Great leaders drive by principle, and they measure without sacrificing either the focus on principle or the requirement of measurable delivery. Hany Girgis, one of the many exceptional leaders I know, gets this balance right. Hany was the founder and former CEO of SGIS, a San Diego-based technology solution provider to the intelligence, homeland security, defense, and space communities that was recently acquired by Salient Federal Solutions and owner/partner of SkillStorm, Inc. Both SGIS and SkillStorm have won many national awards, with SGIS ranked tenth on Entrepreneur Magazine's 2008 List of the Fastest-Growing Businesses in America. Hany has a fairly simple management philosophy, to which he credits much of his success:
"We don't only measure people's financial performance; we measure their adherence to our values, too. In a table of four quadrants, with values as the Y-axis and producing as the X-axis, we get rid of you if you are in the bottom left (low production, low values), we work with you if you're in the bottom right (low production, high values), and we manage you--out of the company, if necessary--if you're in the top left (high production, low values). We have at times had to let top performers go because they didn't live our values."