For almost as long as I have had a job, I have watched people use metrics to gauge performance. Many bosses live by the adage, "If you don't measure it, you can't improve it." For almost as long as I have had a job, I have struggled with the notion that everything of value can be measured and thus improved.
Muller's book puts that sentiment into writing. Sourcing detailed accounts of how articulate measurements often go awry from their intention. Muller quotes Marilyn Strathern's paraphrase of Goodhart's law: "When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure."
In our race for efficiency, we often expect metrics to manage things rather than people, assuming metrics never lie but neglecting the fact metrics also only tell a very narrow piece of the story.
04 July 2018
In his lively presentation, Achor describes an with the way we measure success in the workplace: the goal is always moving. Once you achieve a goal, business leaders make the next goal more difficult. Our brains are wired to seek out goals and this perpetually posting success literally stresses the brain. Achor suggests this is, at least in part, why work is considered stressful for so many people, especially later in their careers. As a counter, Achor suggests doing the following things on a daily basis:
- Write down three things you are grateful for
- Journal a positive experience
- Perform a random act of kindness