Metrics Equal Accountability?

I’ve always been suspicious of directly correlating metrics with compensation or performance reviews. This flies in the face of the cliché “you can’t manage what you can’t measure” and perhaps a little of the six sigma that goes along with it. It isn’t the idea of metrics that I am bothered by, more so, the complication of it. If my job was routine enough to just count widgets then I know I wouldn’t enjoy the job and wouldn’t stick around long enough to actually see the widgets counted. I know I’m oversimplifying this, but bear with me, to express my point, I need to. I’m a believer in thought. I feel like if someone just watched me at work, they would think I’m not a busy person. I don’t file papers or constantly attend meetings. I often get information in, review it, consider it, put it aside, and leave it for a day or two. I then come back to it after absorbing it and think of ways to apply it. Maybe I am just a slow analyzer? But if the decision was easy to begin with, then I might be wrong for the job. The other element I am infusing is some sort of creativity to the information. I think at times that this is over doing it, but at other times, I think I come up with something truly unique and novel. I have coworkers and friends that are baffled by the angles I take at times. It usually get a laugh, but it is different.

So how do I create a metric for this?

David Weinberger is one the featured writers for the Harvard Business Review Breakthrough Ideas of 2007. His topic? The Folly of Accountabilism. I really identified with it because he points out many of the assumptions that I agree with. For instance, Mr. Weinberger talks about how there is some sort of mistaken belief that the system for which we work is controllable, when in fact there are many dependencies.

  • We have little control over our environment.
  • So we go to the next level of detail and more and more process gets infused in creating a complicated situation when it was already complex, slowing flexibility
  • It also doesn’t account for culture and individuals getting detailed to a level of being unable to see the big picture and preventing system illness.
  • Finally, it doesn’t understand motivation.
    • Extrinsic motivation seems short term
    • Intrinsic motivation creates far greater return

Maybe it is a reality that I need to come to grips with – many people prefer to have a routine expectation and meeting an identified goal is pleasing to them.

Adjustment: I would emphasize team goals. Everyone on the team would get performance rewards based on the achievements of the team. Each person on the team would contribute depending on what is happening. One person might be a leader for some situation and someone else might be for another. As the team reaches it’s goals then the entire group benefits. This will frustrate some people that constant perform highly, but they must understand the concept before coming on board. If someone isn’t holding up their end of the bargain then the team can coach him. If the person just doesn’t have anything unique to offer the group then the group can expel the person. But the idea is for each person to provide something beneficial to the team.



Posted in:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: