Metrics cut both ways

All systems are perfectly designed to get the results it gets… at least that’s how the saying goes.

A metric can be a very helpful tool indicating the performance of a specific system. However, once capital – financial and people – are involved, the metric cuts both ways. A decision has to be made:

  • Either believe there’s abundance in the system and that more of everything will produce a better metric overall
  • cut down one variable of the metric in order to improve the final number.

It’s easier to do the second option. Reduce one variable in order to make the overall metric better. However, then the question is: better for whom? Most of the time the person involved in the variable that’s being reduced is going to feel the pain of the decision while the one who benefits from a higher metric is going to soak in the upside at the expense of the other.

The best approach may be to find a better metric.

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