Every year, when Forbes releases their Top 50 Richest people, you bet there’ll be some very unhappy billionaires jumping up and down. These are people that have enough money so their family wouldn’t go hungry, for generations.
Or take an Olympian from the 1970s, transport him back today and competed, he would lose every race. If he went to bed thinking that he is greatest, he’s not that great, is he? He was just great against those people, that day.
All the metrics are made up. And you get to choose yours.
Followers, views counts, companies sold, books read or a ranking on a list.
If you are already at 12% body fat, pain-free, feeling energised, what difference does lowering another percent of body fat make?
Or what difference does another hundred likes on the next post make? Does it mean that these people like you? Would you call on them if you’re in trouble? Are they really your friends?
Or what difference does another million subscribers make for your channel? It’s a metric if you want it. But that’s not why you made your video. You made it to teach something, to change someone, or to dance at the edge failure. That’s hard to measure.
Yes, metrics have a place. In the industrial age, a better machine is one that is more productive. It’s 100% about measurement, effort is irrelevant. But are you a cog in a machine? Are you in a race to the bottom? Faster, better and cheaper.
What we’re learning is that there is a point. And after this point, it’s simply a story. A narrative to satisfy our short-term need to feel that we are winning. And what we really care about, deep down, that might be hard to measure. Are you proud of the work that you do? Have you contributed someone’s day? How do you feel about your day?
It takes guts, to think about the race, and what the purpose of the race is, and what we’re keeping score of.
Just because something is easy to measure, doesn’t mean it’s important.
A simple question that has spread and adopted through the culture. To express care and concern. To get it in-sync.
Like things we got used to, we get into a groove and deliver a canned response. “I’m fine”. “I’m great, how are you?”.
If the point is to express care and concern, here are some follow-up to get real, — “No really, how are you?” — ‘You just told me how are things and I’m asking “how are you?”’ — “I’m glad to know things are in place. How are you?” — “Okay. That’s your first degree of answer. Let me ask you again. Just tell me something. How are you? How did you sleep? Are you sleeping? Are you eating? Are you tasting the food?” — “If I ask your wife how are you, what do you think she will says?”
“I want to do great work, but my boss won’t let me.”
“I want to innovate, but my boss won’t let me.”
“I want to treat customers differently, but my boss won’t let me.”
What’s actually happening there is you’re saying to the boss, “I want to do something innovative. If it works, I’ll get the credit. But if it doesn’t work, because I’ve asked you first, you’ll get the blame.”
Well, no boss is going to go for that deal.
The opportunity here is, if you’re willing to take responsibility without asking for authority or resources and you’re willing to give away credit, you’ll be amazed at how much you’re allowed to do.
Because if you’re not waiting for authority or resources, and you’re taking ownership of the outcomes, many organization is ready to hand out responsibilities like candy.
And if you’re giving away credit, a line would form out the door with people saying, “Do it again, let me take the credit this time.” And you’ll get to do it again.
This change will take a while, not one day. But if you’re managing upwards, managing downwards and managing sidewards, with relentless positivity, you’ll find that people will reciprocate.
If you start contributing to the culture, the culture would start contributing back.