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Transparency - Metrics

(July 31, 2006) Like it or not, the future is about transparency in your brand, your processes, your objectives and your performance. From the individual contributor all the way to the most senior policy making committee, everything is visible. Everything that can be will be measured. This is the legacy of the web.

There's been a lot of fluff from people who say that measurements are somehow bad because the process begins by guessing and quantifying the wrong things. It's only when a system learns how to measure itself with increasing accuracy and clarity that it can meaningfully improve itself. This is how biofeedback and corporate metrics function. Each measurement allows the possibility that you will come to understand the right measurement. Without experimentation and failure, no measurements can evolve to useful function. Measurement is the creation of a forum for the quantitative discussion of existing processes, practices and products.

In other words, the right answer to the argument "these metrics are stupid and don't really measure anything at all" is "of course". But, like Edison working through types of filaments for the light bulb, it's a process of elimination and discovery. The very essence of forward motion is the creation of methods and measures that let us clearly recognize failure so that we can quickly learn from it.

Most people are not ready to look closely enough at their work to constantly improve their performance. That's why so few become entrepreneurs. The organizations that do embrace continual improvement and organizational learning as a way of life all come to understand that constant failure is the primary mode of learning. Always make the same mistake once, then make lots of mistakes.

The Millennials, who are driving the next generations of workplace transparency, are profoundly more political than the generations that preceded them. Everything is politicized. From temperature to food to sex to profits to markets to sources to customers, this group grew up on Apartheid boycotts and had gender choice diversity clubs in their high schools. Diversity is a part of their operating instruction set. Vetting jobs, bosses, products and events through multi-layered information flows is their stock and trade.

There will be tension in the workplace as these only children arrive with their demands for more clarity than was available to their older workforce peers. The intergenerational resentment will be intense as the elders (Boomers, Xers and Silents) wonder why these young Turks can't accept the pittance of information that was available "back in the day."

The answer is that they don't have to and that the demon is out of its box. It's a no-brainer (and taught in schools all over the world) to be able to deeply investigate a prospective employer. From now on, investment decisions, trading partners, office locations, business practices, core policy decisions, managerial aptitudes and other previously unmentionables will become the heart and soul of the employment decision process.

It's time to get the secrets out of the closet, even if you don't know they're in there.

Get Our New White Paper: Boomers to Bust Age Bias

John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.
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