I was talking with a friend last night, and I was trying to explain why dance contests are important to me. I explained that to me, measurables are the only way to gauge how you are doing, and that as far as my experience goes the only measurable of how well you are dancing is contests. As I have said before, the judging process is fraught with issues, but it's all we got. Two business quality improvement ideas came up in the course of the conversation that made me giggle.
1. Getting feedback on dance contests. Go to the judges after the contest and ask them what I could do to improve my placing next time. Not a bad idea, although it lends itself to some very funny answers depending who the judge is, and how honest they are.
2. There is a second possible metric, and this one might be the one I should be using. A customer satisfaction survey of the people I dance with. Let's see how this one might go, at the end of the dance I would say "Thank you for dancing with me, if you could just minutes to fill this survey out and drop in the box on that table over there, it would be much appreciated. Don't worry, it's completely anonymous."
My friend seemed to think that idea number 2 is the better one for me. I agree. Although I want to improve my dancing, doing so in a manner that highlights the enjoyment of my partners fits very well into my personality ... much more so than a 'win at any price' attitude. I am also unsure if my style of dancing fits well into dance contests, so this kind of measurable might work really well.
Now to design the survey, put together a web site, and send it out.
It just makes me laugh.