Measuring what matters

A former boss of mine, back in my radio broadcasting days, often repeated the admonition, "What gets measured gets done."  Arriving here in 1996, I was surprised to discover a level of professionalism and diligence that, at first, seemed over the top, but eventually began to make complete sense.  As an example, when young announcers (even the more seasoned ones) went to do an on-location broadcast - whether it was at a business or at a community event - it was expected that they would be visited by the account executive, sales manager, program director, and general manager.  Knowing that the entire accountability structure was going to show up - often unannounced and at unexpected times - you did your utmost to be excellent.  Because they were getting measured, they got it done.

With those whispers of memory from a former life in mind, I am super excited about the upcoming Community Wellbeing Survey and the impact it will have on how we moved forward in strengthening our quality of life initiatives.

How often do you attend an arts event?

Do you volunteer?  If so, how much?  Has your volunteerism gone up, stayed the same, or gone down in the last year?

How often do you participate in cultural activities?

I'm completely making those questions up, but you get the point.  The questions that will be asked of 8,000 randomly selected households throughout the broad expanse of the municipality will be qualitative in nature and begin to map the health of our community.  It is so important that we get a good sample for the survey to be a reasonable measure of the state of our Wood Buffalo world.

We all get inundated by incoming junk mail.  The volume, even in this digital age, is staggering.  We have a box in the study that fills up every two weeks with many pieces that go directly from the mailbox to the recycling without a second glance.  So, the more awareness we can bring to the Community Wellbeing Survey, the higher the likelihood that it might get seen, read, and responded to.
Recipients will be directed to a simple and anonymous online survey to answer questions about your quality of life.  Should you be one of the lucky recipients of the invitation to participate, you'll also have a chance to enter a draw for some pretty awesome prizes.

Surveys (in my mind) are useless unless there is a valid use for what's being measured when all the data comes in.  The information contained in the "Look into Wood Buffalo Community Wellbeing Survey" will help all sectors in making decisions that are rooted in truth.  My hope would be that this "truth" seeking mechanism is undertaken on an annual or biennial basis, so that we can look back at the established baseline and see how we're doing.

Another smart boss of mine liked to say "You don't know what you don't know".  The Community Wellbeing Survey will help supplant conjecture with statistically significant data. We are awash in conjecture, on multiple fronts and on multiple community issues.  The results of this initial survey should help to generate clarity about life in Wood Buffalo today, so that we can improve life in Wood Buffalo for tomorrow.

So watch your mailbox, give a heads up to your neighbors, and encourage your friends to invest 20 to 30 minutes of their time if they are fortunate enough to be selected.  The Community Wellbeing Survey is truly measuring what really matters.


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