Can indicators take us in the wrong direction ?

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Whatever some may think and even if the small enterprise 2.0 world have been overcatious with this notion, measurements are essentials because they help to validate, undersand and manage what’s done.

Except for experimentations (though come to think of it …) and matters of urgency, nothing is done holding one’s  wet finger in the wind.

Everyone who tried at least once to make things change in any organization certainly suffered from indicators’ dictaortship. As a metter of fact it happens that new things sometimes makes indicators turn to red. But could we (heretically) wonder if, sometimes, indicators takes us in wrong direction ?

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Normally, indicators are set in order to evaluate a defined operational model. But, since we are in a context of change, it’s obvious that new ways of doing things won’t match the existing ones, so that they need their own new indicators. In this kind of situation, the biggest barrier to change is that new things differ from existing ones. Scary. Envisage a future because present has to be improved and then refuse it because it’s different from present is quite an interesting mindgame.

Example : in a factory productivity may be a good indicator. When the market gets weaker, refusing to have stocks may also be a great idea. But trying to keep the “stock light” green supposes the productivity light to be red.

It appears that indicators don’t have to be rigidly set but have to evolve according to the objecftve/constraints couple.

That’s not because something is measurable that it has to be measures, it’s not because an indicator exists that it is relevant : indicators have to follow organizations but don’t have to determine it. It’s another clear example of confusion between means and goals.

Can we think we are in a situation of dramatic context change that can makes us revisit some classical indicators ? Some already began with financial ones.