You Get What You Measure

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I dreaded every time I needed to call my internet service provider when there is a problem. The help desk agent bombarded me with technical jargons and was rushing through the instructions at 100 km/hour. That was a couple of years ago.

A month ago, I had to make a call again. I was pleasantly surprised how helpful the agent was. He was polite and took the time to work through my issues at a pace that I was comfortable with. What a difference.

As it turned out, the performance measure has changed from the number of calls per hour to the number of tasks completed per hour. The measure on the number of calls pushed the agents to end each call quickly so that they could squeeze in more calls. Hence, the 100 km/hour instructions. On the contrary, measuring the number of tasks completed changed the focus to getting work done that serve the customer.

As they say, you get what you measure. Be thoughtful about your end goals and use measures that drive the desired behaviour.

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