Metric Fixation

Metric Fixation

Metric Fixation, an epidemic in most of the world's biggest companies is a way to measure employee performance primarily by numbers, counted, tallied, compiled and analyzed in daily, weekly or monthly intervals.

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Ignoring Real Values

Metric fixation can make employees ignore the real values and goals of the company and focus on their short-term weekly or monthly goals so that they keep their jobs, get a pay raise or have their stock options out at the right time.

Incentivizing Leads to Gaming

The rewards of the metric performance measurement can be as a form of a monetary bonus, stocks or just an enhanced grade or designation, leading to competition among employees. This leads to many employees gaming the system to affect the bottom line of their metrics.

Example: Surgeons can refuse to treat patients having a complicated condition, as it may affect their failure rate.

Millions of Hours Lost

On a macro level, metric fixation can lead to companies focussing on the quarterly report while ignoring any real R&D work, that takes years to provide any result.

Companies also suffer millions of hours of productivity loss due to employees maintaining performance records, a lot of expenses spent on recording and tracking tools, and the time it takes to read or analyze the numbers.

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RELATED IDEAS

John Doerr's Measure What Matters is about the importance of setting clear goals and using metrics to back them up. Doerr argues that metrics-driven OKRs (objectives and key results) have a considerable impact.


In contrast, Jerry Muller's The Tyranny of Metrics shows that measuring everything destroys our schools, hospitals, police and politics. When metrics is the most important, everyone will try to "game" the numbers. E.g., schools teach to the test rather than to educate.

The Peter Principle

It refers to an observation wherein people who perform well in their job gets promoted until eventually, they will reach a stage where they are incompetent for that job.

Why We Judge Others

There are many ways we choose to measure the value of our own lives, be it money or popularity of family or good deeds.

The way you measure yourself is how you measure others, and how you assume others measure you.

If you measure your life by how much you’ve traveled, then you will measure other people by the same standard. 

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