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What if you stop working and nobody notices?


Category: KPIs, measures, outcomes, accountability

A few years ago I was on a bus tour from Varadero into Havana. Interesting ride through lush forest, farm, jungle country. Why are there so many visuals of Che Guevara, and angry rhetoric about the revolution? It didn’t seem to matter that the Cuban revolution ended in 1959, and Che died in 1967. So long ago we didn’t even have Starbucks and iPhones. Has nothing happened since then?

In the seat in front of us, a young student was loudly arguing with her seat mate, using the line, “that’s only your opinion.” That went on for a while. No matter what her partner said, she’d turn it into an “everything is subjective,” debate.

Let me tell you about subjective, it only works with words. Beyond that, subjective fails miserably. When you bank bounces your NSF check, you will feel the full force of your banks “subjective opinion” about your account balance. Arguing that deposits don’t have to precede withdrawals because its only a sequencing issue, and money is subjective anyway, won’t get you anywhere. Subjective is at the other end of measurement. Measurement is what makes the world go around.

Life is not all subjective, and measurement does matter. A couple of thoughts.

  • If you can’t measure your work, how do you know you’re needed? If you stop working and nobody notices, that’s a problem.

  • You’ve heard the saying, “after a thousand times of anything, a pattern develops. Unless of course, you’re in a coma or texting.” Conscious people tend to notice stuff. What if I see a pattern, which enables me to measure, but you missed it?

  • If you can’t measure your job, how do you manage it? How do you decide what to do?

  • Outcomes are requirements, and they all turn into measures at some level.

  • A workplace where nobody measures will eventually organize itself around seniority. It’s always one or the other but never both.

  • It’s human nature to work on things which are being measured. Measured things are the important things.

  • Measure non financial things, they are the leading indicators of output. Money is a lagging indicator.

Jobs are about outcomes. Outcomes are never subjective, they can be measured. The two ideas, “subjective” and “free ride” are strangely connected.

Let’s build great companies, and measure one job at a time!

Wolf

Partner,

Metrik Management Inc.

  • p.s. 90% of your work day clears up when you say, “What’s supposed to happen next?” Followed by, “then just do that.” In the old days it was called focus.

  • p.s. Interview question: “How was your work measured?” It will reveal the candidates skills and where they spent most of their time.

  • p.s. If you stop working and nobody notices, update your resume.


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