#6 What is wrong with measuring performance?

Show notes

Not-so-accurate transcript

In the modern, science-based management perspective, we can’t improve something we don’t measure. But the greater question is whether something that cannot be measured objectively, can be improved. And are things that cannot be measured worth improving?

Let’s begin unpacking this.

When we don’t measure something, we don’t know where we are at. And then when we work on it, we don’t know how much we have moved. Not just that, we don’t even know if the actions we have taken actually works. It would seem like without the ability to measure, we are pretty much stuck.

Yet this brings up the question of whether an objective measure is the only way we can perceive the world, or if there were some other kinds of qualitative observations that we can make which allows us to tell ourselves we have made progress without necessarily being able to quantify them?

If we do think through, that’s something that happens on a daily basis. If we don’t feel so well, perhaps with headache or stomachache, it would be hard to objectively measure if our pain has reduced after taking a short nap. We did not technically measure, but yet we know.

And so does this mean that our requirement for objective measures is actually a trap itself?

Because armed with the previous observation, we can now safely say that things which cannot technically be measured are still worth improving. For example, family relationships, or friendships, or the mastery of certain art forms. They are impossible to measure in any objective sense, and there’s no numbers for quantification. But we can all agree they are worth improving.

Now back to the question of whether our self-imposed requirement of measurements in itself is preventing us from moving forward. Unlike the previous episodes of Mondo Gondo, today I’m not offering any answers or solutions to that. It is a question worth really thinking deeply about. And I think that’s probably a good way to end my first season. Thank you all for listening and stay tuned, for the next season of Mondo Gondo.