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Pearson’s Law – When it Doesn’t Work

Posted by Douglas A Wick on Wed, Jun 9, 2010

This past week I posted a blog on Pearson's Law Revisited.  I'd only wished I'd listened to Aubrey Daniels' Bringing Out the Best in People first before writing it.   In Chapter 11 I was struck by Daniels' comment, "measuring doesn't change a thing!"  He noted that a great many people in business believe that measuring a problem is tantamount to solving it.

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Daniels' points out that measuring a problem or using measurements to solve problems to help a company perform better will yield the intended results from Pearson's Law, "When performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported back, the rate of improvement accelerates."

However one of the most frequent uses of measurement is to identify performers who are measuring up.  When a measurement is done, negative action is taken to correct the performance problem.  The consequence to this is how do your employees feel?  

Daniels' notes that in clinical psychology he's never had a patient complain about being measured.  Why?  Because they never doubt that measurement is being used to help them with their problem. 

That's the challenge with our teams.  In Performance Management system the intention is to not to measure to find problem employees, rather it's used to enable employees to do better. 

Understanding this difference between how measurement is traditionally used and the way it should be used [enable employees to do better] creates conditions where people seek measurement rather than avoid it. 

If you've used Pearson's Law and found it didn't work, you've been using it to correct a performance problem and taking negative action to eliminate it.  Focus your intention and attention next time on enabling performance improvement.

Your employee's says, "You can't measure what I do!"  What are the steps you need to take to create an environment where people want to be measured?   

Topics: Business Growth, Pearsons Law, Quantification

Challenges of Scaling Up a Business 







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The Strategic Discipline Blog focuses on midsize business owners with a ravenous appetite to improve his or her leadership skills and business results.

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