The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

The trap of measurement

When leaders define KPIs and use them with their teams, they provide an orientation. With it, they seem to create a sense of clarity.

Naturally, it helps if the KPI is aligned with what the team has been achieving. It also helps to define the little extra boost of inviting them to be better than the defined KPI or reach it if it is a stretch.

The sense of clarity such a KPI gives is more the knowledge of how the objective will be measured. It seems to provide a neutral truth, which often brings a sense of safety. It might be misunderstood as clarity.

That is until no one knows anymore why that KPI is used and how the number comes about. When that why has been lost, it often happens that a reinterpretation results.

Take for example someone who decides to post a picture and wants to do it daily. After a while, some pictures receive a like. A while later, the habit of posting daily is trained, and the focus changes. Now it starts to become about the likes. After a while there is a regular stream of likes and pictures are now measured by the likes.

And suddenly a good picture is one with enough likes and a bad picture does not reach the number. The “like-KPI” not only starts to transform the pictures that are being posted, but it also transformed why the pictures are being made.

A different approach is to start experimenting with the pictures that are being posted and for example, try to predict how many likes it will receive. The ability to predict depends on knowing the difference between the pictures and slowly figuring out what it is that makes them more or less attractive. It eventually also creates the space to learn more about the type of pictures one likes oneself.





Share this post:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *