When Metrics Drive Behavior
I’ve had a lot of responses from last week’s podcast about Fear-Based Leadership, specifically around the use of metrics. Metrics drive behavior and we, as leaders, need to be careful about what we’re measuring and how our people perceive our use of those metrics.
What do I mean?
I’ll give you an example. I was on-site at a gold mine and the bus transporting employees back from the plant to the dorm parked in front of me. I watched one employee get off the bus, run to a snow bank and proceed to vomit. I turned to my site contact and said:
That’s terrible. They should send him home or make sure he doesn’t work tomorrow.
The site contact wasn’t surprised. That company offers a draw for employees that work the entire year without taking a sick day (it was December so it was close to the end of the year). The winner of that draw receives a significant amount of money for their retirement.
It all made sense why that employee didn’t want to stay home.
I’ve seen this at a few places where safety incidents weren’t reported, maintenance metrics were manipulated, and/or employees changed their behaviors to hit target.
So what do we do about it?
The first step is communication. Why are we measuring the metrics and what are we using them for? Are we using them to understand? Are we using them to diagnose issues? Or are we using them to bonus, discipline, measure or fire people? Perception is reality so authentic, honest communication is key (as well as action).
What examples do you have about people changing their behavior to hit target? How does your company use metrics? Do you trust your leaders? Hit reply and let me know!
Reliability Never Sleeps,