I have long been an advocate for performance measurement … as a way to motivate people (including myself) to get things done. In fact, one of my leadership mantras is “What gets measured and publicized gets acted on!” But if you’re going to make performance measurement work in a way that will create positive intended outcomes, then you have to make sure that you’re using the right benchmark.
It is better to have no timepiece than one that is wrong
An old mentor used to say to me: The worst kind of timepiece is the one that is wrong. Think about it … if you don’t have a watch, then you are well aware that you don’t know the time. So you know that you don’t know – conscious incompetence – and that is valuable information. And then, if you really want to know what time it is, you’re going to find someone who has a watch, and ask.
But if you have a clock that is erratically fast or aimlessly slow (and you don’t realize that the problem exists), your natural inclination will be to accept the time you see at face value and assume that it is correct. Which will, sooner or later, lead you into trouble. Continue reading