Measuring the wrong things? You will get the wrong results! Guaranteed!

Can you recognize when someone is measuring the wrong things?

Do you see the similarity of these two incidents?

I had just checked into my favorite motel in Johnson City, TN, and then asked for my usual extended checkout time. The desk clerk’s response shocked me. “I can’t do it anymore. The home office has cut my labor budget and eliminated all overtime. I can’t have a maid stay past her normal quitting time.”

I never returned to that motel.

I exited from I-75 and took my family into a major chain hamburger restaurant. The service was slow, with an especially long wait for French fries. The family carried their food to the table and sat down while I stayed at the counter and waited, and waited, and waited. This incident occurred years ago when the chain first added drive-thru service. I could see that orders from the drive-thru placed after mine were being filled first. When I brought this to the attention of the manager, she said, “I have to send food to the drive-thru customers first because the home office is tracking serving times on the drive-thru.” When I asked her, “What about us dining room customers?” Her reply was, “Well, they are not tracking that.”

It is not difficult to understand why customers “feel” that drive-thru service is faster than the service inside.

Do you see what is happening in both incidents?

Someone with considerable authority is measuring the wrong thing. There is a difference in knowing how to count, and knowing what is most important to measure. Unfortunately, this happens far to often.

No doubt, you also can recall many incidents where you have seen this same situation.

Whatever you measure, be sure that it accurately reflects what is important to know. Otherwise you gather interesting numbers that actually confuse, deceive and distort important decisions.

Be careful!

Measure the Wrong Thing and You Get the Wrong Results

Getting the wrong results – can lead to making the wrong decisions!

Share what you have seen.

By sharing experiences where we have seen this happen, we may be able to alert others to incidents of measuring the wrong things that they have not previously noticed.

When you carefully look for this executive failure, you may be surprised that it happens so often. Let that be to your advantage.

Avoid this mistake and you will enhance your career and protect your reputation.

Jimmy Collins

P.S. Like this story? Want to learn more? Order my new book Jimmy’s Stories from Amazon.

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