Friday, February 19, 2010

You get what you measure

At my parents house I stepped on the scales -  it said 196!  My scales at home say 189.

So you can do everything right - set the business strategy; establish the goals and measurements;   record results; monitor the results and change tactics ---  only to discover that the outcomes are unfavorable.  So what is the problem?  Are you measuring  the wrong thing?  Maybe not.

Instead, you find the numbers are wrong - you've been stepping on the wrong scale.

Somewhere I read that there is a surprising number of excel spreadsheets with fatal calculation errors (the % was over 20% I believe).  Yet we are so conditioned to believe the numbers when we see it on a nicely formatted  computer printout. My experience in programming computers and testing software has made me a perpetual skeptic.  Maybe also coming from the roots of an Accounting firm, I've also learned to always re-add the columns both ways (with the appropriate accounting tick mark).

The lesson -  You get what you measure -  but check scale.

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