Performance measures and learning LO12171

Ethan J. Mings (
Fri, 24 Jan 1997 09:09:07 -0005

Replying to LO12158 --

On 24 Jan 97 at 2:18, JC Howell wrote:

> I sense that, perhaps, you took my comments as a personal comment. Please
> don't. They are simply comments on measurement and measurement systems.
> They are not comments on the person of Ethan Mings.

Noted with thanks :-)

> Measurement wasn't developed and used according to any coherent plan. It
> simply WAS. <snip>

We have some common ground here. I find measurment with out the framework
of a plan can be problematic. My experience is it generally has a limited
success. On the other hand, if measurement is part of an overall planning
process, it has a *stronger* chance of sucess.

Yet, I often wonder if people really use measurement to 'keep the status
quo' or use it to help move the organization towards its vision.
(Thinking outloud question).

> I want to emphasize, again, the point about poor management. Even the
> best measurement system, in the hands of poor managers, can lead to
> undesirable results. The problem with poor managers is that they don't
> understand what "it" is all about. Therefore, they tend to focus on the
> wrong things because they just don't get it. What they get may be
> dynamite indicators ... of all the wrong things.

I guess this where I take a different slant on management. Poor
management is a term often used. I often wonder what it really means. To
be specific, I have found over 80% of the managers I was dealing with
**could not read numbers**. I also found members of Board of Directors,
when interviewed on a one to one basis also admitted they had no knowledge
or experience in reading numbers. This experience has made me reshape my
thinking when dealing with organizations regarding measurement. I now do
a check to see what the real math literacy rate is among managers. Hence,
I don't look at poor management, I look at math literacy.

Math literacy is not the only thing I like to check out. I like to check
out managements literacy on systems, system thinking and systems mapping.
I find 2% to 5% of managers I deal with have comptency or literacy in this

Between math and systems literacy, it helps me understand why managers
have difficulties with strategic planning, measurement, customer
satisfaction, core business products and profitabilites. It also helps me
move my mental image from "poor management" to "real potential in
management". That helps keep me positive when working with organizations.

Maybe the key is to continue to look at the word, 'poor management' and
provide clarity to what that really means. I've identified two areas.
Maybe other can identify others. Then with a list, it may help provide a
'management compentencies list for further learning.

Just a thot.

Again, thanks for your note on the personal side.

Ethan J. Mings
Write to me at "" or visit our WWW Page at
"Where organizational economics is about life, not theory"


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