Measures of LO Effectiveness LO5796
Thu, 22 Feb 1996 13:18:38 -0500

Replying to LO5771 --

"We don't measure performance, we perform to what we measure," states
George Smith. Ackoff writes, "It is better to have an imprecise
measurement of what you want than a precise measurement of what you don't
want." Finally, Deming repeatedly said, "You cannot plan to make a
discovery. You do not plan innovation." and "3 percent of the problems
have figures and 97 percent of them do not." (I never understood how he
could arrive at a figure for the percentage of problems for which there
are no figures. Oh well, go figure.)

I quoted all that to say this: develop a theory about how and why people
innovate, create, discover, and explore. Make that theory congruent with
research on the subject (I'd suggest looking at the work of Kohn, Amabile,
and Csikszentmihalyi). Adopt policy compatible with this theory and then,
gradually modify and improve your policy and theory as you get feedback on

Put less emphasis on measuring your people than measuring your system
(including your processes, policies and philosophies). Send a baby back
in time one thousand years and it will have lifetime earnings less than a
modern American might earn in a month. Bring a baby from a thousand years
back (well, okay, I'll make allowance for prenatal care and specify a
zygote) into today, and it will have monthly earnings greater than its
biological parents had in a lifetime. We put so much emphasis on rating
the struggles of individuals WITHIN systems, yet history clearly
demonstrates the greater power of changes OF systems.

You are right to think that it is critical to change measurement if you
want to change organizational behavior.

Ron Davison
San Diego


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