The Devil is in the Metrics

Metrics will drive behavior. Our goal is to identify or create metrics that deliberately drive desired behavior. Consider the practice of using Corrective Action Reports (CARs) to identify and track process “escapes” or problems that result in undesired outcomes.

In many of my posts I have expressed my belief that true performance improvement comes from changing behavior.  I’ve also invested many words on my own site on the topic. Accordingly, I’ve mentioned many times that metrics will drive behavior. Our goal is to identify or create metrics that deliberately drive desired behavior.

Unfortunately, many of those assertions are not followed with solid examples of how metrics and behavior work together. So, herein is a discussion of metrics and behavior, and some thoughts for how to manage the phenomenon that occurs between them. The example is so common and widespread I imagine that everyone has witnessed it.

Consider the practice of using Corrective Action Reports (CARs) to identify and track process “escapes” or problems that result in undesired outcomes. Whatever we call our identifiers, most of us with any formal process control or process improvement methodology use something to draw attention to the fact that a process or procedure failed to work or we failed to follow it.

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