How Metrics Can Be Used and Abused by Management

Management 3.0 Practices: Metrics Ecosystem

“The way people measure performance in organizations is often just plain wrong. Everyone should learn the twelve rules of good metrics. This would help establish a culture in which people see measurement as a way to learn and improve, and create an organization where all workers participate in the metrics ecosystem.”

This chapter of management guru Jurgen Appelo’s, Managing for Happiness, broaches the bane and the basis of most organizations — metrics.

How do you hold workers accountable? How do you hold yourself accountable? How can annual reviews based on concrete results and bonus models still be logical in an ever-changing world of metrics and working styles? Don’t we all find joy when we aren’t always doing the same thing?

“We measure to understand how to live a better life, both mentally and physically. For organizations, it’s no different.”

While not everything that counts can be counted, there is truth behind the idiom that what gets measured gets managed, and what gets managed gets done. In this chapter, you will learn how to measure the right way. You will learn how to set objectives in under the a strong presence of honesty, transparency and open, flowing communication.

The outline of this path is:

  • Rule 1: Measure for a purpose.
  • Rule 2: Shrink the unknown.
  • Rule 3. Seek to improve.
  • Rule 4: Delight all stakeholders.
  • Rule 5: Distrust all numbers.
  • Rule 6: Set imprecise targets.
  • Rule 7: Own your metrics.
  • Rule 8: Don’t connect metrics to rewards.
  • Rule 9: Promote values and transparency.
  • Rule 10: Visualize and humanize.
  • Rule 11: Measure early and often.
  • Rule 12: Try something else.

This chapter gives you guidance on how each person in your organization can create their own objectives and take ownership of their own metrics. Then, it teaches you how to make sure those objectives work toward team-set, company-wide and customer-focused goals and direction.

“Leadership is hard to get right, but with a decent set of tools and exercises, the job is immeasurably easier. This books offers those tools, exercises and above all, insight into how a 21st century manager behaves. Work and the workforce is fundamentally different compared to how it was even a decade ago and Jurgen’s book helps engage and enthuse the reader to become a better manager and to lead their team to success.” – Mike Pearce, development manager at

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