Sunday, August 17, 2008
What you measure changes what you do
Today, in the New York Times and other US newspapers. the USA leads China 65 to 61 in the Olympics medal table. However, in the Uk, newspapers such as The Times (of London) puts China (with 35 gold medals) ahead of the US (with 19). So it depends on what you measure. So the US way of measuring national success at the Olympics gives the US reason for self-congratulation, whereas the UK way, leads to change in behavior. Incidentally, the US way puts Britain at 5, while the UK way puts it at 3. So in business, or political strategy what you measure results in different strategies. When two business competitors are measuring different things, it is possible that either each considers that it is winnung, or that it is losing.Thus the Vietnam war become prolonged because both the and North Vietnam believed that it they were winning. In business, one company may be focusing on market share, while the other maximizes profitability - Dell vs. Apple; Ford vs. BMW.