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The Honest Measure of My Worth

Those words keep sticking in my head from a Jethro Tull song: "That's the Honest Measure of My Worth". What is?

  1. How do we measure people so they accept the measure as a fair assessment?
  2. How to measure so that the measurement itself does not distort behaviour?
  3. How much "measurement" of people can be done with objective numbers? Are we such complex creatures that an honest measure can only be done by subjective assessemnt by fellow humans? Is that why we have juries?


Thoughts on fair measures...

Ultimately the only fair measure of a person’s worth (within a business context of course) is the profitability of a business. Now that doesn't account for individual contribution, but when the company does well, it's usually because the people in it contribute to it's well being. Pay people shares or something equivalent and they will begin to drive the right behaviour. Yes individual coaching will still be necessary, some people have a short-term view or outlook and need help with balancing with the long-term; hence we don't distort the behaviour by the measurement.

Most of the "worth" I've received came from myself -- I'm not different than most people, we know when we do good work and it feels good when you go home having accomplished a good days work.

Okay I haven't answered your question or have I ??

1. Negotiate with them; have them come up with the measurement in a collaborative manner (the two of you). This has worked for me in the past, but wasn't easy, especially with the quiet technical guy.
2. Test it ! At least on paper, look at the loop holes. If I was the type to cut corners, how could I "cheat" this measurement? Then plug the hole or scrap the measurement. I guess the other way is to change it or get rid of it if it's not working (encouraging bad behaviour).
3. Too many measurements take a lot of time and effort to track and monitor and there's really only so much you can monitor. So keep it simple and relate it directly back to the business (the bottom line or something that is relevant to the business). Performance reviews are necessary, that's where you get into other areas that can't be easily measured. There has to be a combination of things.


KPIs and bonuses

Trevor thanks for your input. i agree with you!

I've suffered under a management regime where the measurement system took more than 100% of my time across 12 direct reports, let alone any of my other tasks. madness.

I'd add two thoughts:
look out not just for rorting of KPIs but also inadvertent distortions. My manager wanted to boost services revenue so he changed my bonus to 50% services and 50% product, even though serveices represented about 20% of revenue. So i said "You want me to spend 50% of my time working on services deals then?" (which would have seriously annoyed all the sales folk) No apparently, he just wanted me to try harder when it was a services deal.

Much as stock options and profit bonuses are attractive in theory, in a big company i felt so remote from the company results that i never felt I had skin in that game. They were just windfalls. Maybe in a small company it would work, but only if there were no people visibly free-riding.

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