It was our first trip to Paris, and the Louvre topped the list of places Suzette and I wanted to see.
I’ve never had patience for standing in lines, or “queues,” or appreciated being bunched into a small herd following a funky umbrella. So- I went online and arranged for a private tour.
Two mornings later, Guillaume Deprez, our guide, met us out front, next to the statue of Louis XIV. And the adventure began!
As soon as we passed through the turnstiles, Guillaume took off…literally. He dashed to the top of the massive flight of marble stairs.
Suzette and I glanced at one another, then took off after him. Reaching the top, he stopped abruptly and turned around. We almost slammed into him.
“Good!” Guillaume said with a smile. “Now I know how much we can see today.”
What the heck was he doing?
He was conducting a test- taking a measurement. He explained later that he runs this little experiment at the start of every tour with new clients.
Combined with our responses to his questions along the way, he then knew what we wanted to see and how to best pace the rest of our tour so he could provide highest value- not too fast…not too slow.
Since Suzette and I have kept ourselves in pretty good physical shape, we got to see more of the Louvre in our allotted time than most people do.
Well, at least we like to think we did. And- Guillaume seemed pleased. So all was good.
Look- in any endeavor, whether you’re seeking to improve, optimize, or simply have a handle on ‘how things are going’, measurement is essential.
As W. Edwards Deming taught us, “What gets measured gets improved.”
This may sound strange coming from me, the guy who has for years railed against the corporate ‘disease’ of Anal Oculitis.
The truth is- despite good intentions, many current metrics and their reward & punishment schemes continue to conjure up unintended consequences.
This is because of WHAT’s being measured, HOW it’s being measured, and how people are being awarded (or bludgeoned) for meeting (or not meeting) goals and targets.
In his New York Times best-seller Atomic Habits, James Clear writes, “We optimize for what we measure. When we choose the wrong measurement, we get the wrong behavior.”
He then references Goodhart’s Law, named after British economist Charles Goodhart: “When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.”
- While it seems like a good idea to celebrate the ever-growing number of workhours since the last lost-time-accident, how does this impact a team member’s willingness to report an injury?
- While profits are certainly important, how much does the potential to ‘miss quarterly projections’ force senior executive short-term thinking and decision-making…not to mention associated accounting shenanigans?
- In the US, the concept of “no child left behind” had noble intent; however, when school teacher performance is based mostly on students’ standardized test scores, are teachers helping children learn how to learn, or…how to memorize and pass tests?
To be clear- ‘measuring’ is not bad. In fact, it’s essential.
However, to help you truly move forward, WHAT you measure, HOW you measure, and what you DO with what you measure must work with human nature– not against it.
Does this sound counterintuitive?
Consider this slightly paraphrased version of what Bruce Cameron taught us in 1963: “Not everything that can be measured matters and not everything that matters can be measured.”
As a Next-Gen leader and influencer it’s essential to remember that underneath any team member’s choice, action, and behavior (including yours) lies a personal and individual perception, mindset, and reason WHY.
When you learn to work with human nature rather than against it, amazing things are possible!
And with everything the world’s throwing at us, grasping, understanding, and leveraging this is more important than ever.
You know, things will likely never go back to ‘the way they were before’.
As such, WHAT you measure, the WAY you manage, and HOW lead must be ‘reset’ as well. And in truth, you’re only one Framework away…
Until next time my friend, be well and stay safe,