I’m struggling to put more complex thoughts on paper these days. Short reviews and fiction (not published) is where it flows. I suppose that this struggle relates somewhat to the topic I’m about to write about today: how volatility gets in the way of measurement and the purpose of both.

Volatility is living, you could say. Living cells move, dead cells are for scientists to study long after they lived. For every 10 people, you will find a fair proportion that believes this to be true for many aspects in life, from work to relationships. Movement is also rewarded by the stock market, movement in people makes them seem more energetic and allows them to get further in life.

Measurement is death, you could say. Stop, cell, I can’t measure you unless you’re frozen in place. Same for you my dear employee. Will we ever be able to measure the magic of Apple or Pixar unless they are a part of history, no longer in motion?

So why bring it up then? Back in my 1st of year of study, a demotivating professor told us that the science of management is more about preserving the status quo than encouraging change. Managers, supposedly, keep things stable in order to produce colourful charts and reports that impress their overlords and shareholders. You could nearly say that measurement is their reason to be.

I don’t buy that at all, but I do see a strong need for accountability, which is a need to show results. But the best results do come from growth, lot’s of it, and the only way to accomplish that is to not let measurement get in the way of growth.

I can suggest lot’s of ways to accomplish this:

  • Stay lean: by consuming less resources for growth, you’re not as accountable for your cost as when you spend a lot on it
  • Work with collaborative systems that collect these metrics automatically
  • Related: make collaboration efficient, which you accomplish through measuring communication flows. Establish protocols that decrease routine communication that is unnecessary.
  • Related: allow for organic and human activity. Getting in the way of natural progress is wrong, making it unnatural creates a mess, taking humanity away decreases motivation.
  • Measure the right things but no more
  • Reward the right things and if possible more