THE DANGER OF CONFUSING METRICS WITH STRATEGY
The speed and unpredictability of the fourth industrial revolution and the digital economy are a mandate for all of us to look beyond narrow, rigid metrics to ensuring that capacity is dedicated to strategic priorities.
The Sep/Oct issue of HBR, https://hbr.org/2019/09/dont-let-metrics-undermine-your-business, highlights a significant problem in today’s organizations; the often-misguided focus on metrics at the expense of true strategic focus.
A powerful example given by the authors is Wells Fargo’s creation of millions of customer accounts (without customer consent) in pursuit of an ambitious cross-selling metric. This ill-advised effort was a massive execution error, where the actual strategy of building long term relationships not only tanked, but had a negative, inverse outcome to what was originally intended.
This came at an enormous cost as it does for many organizations, where an extreme focus on metrics can be a destructive substitute for true strategic focus.
This underscores the need for Return On Leadership® (ROL), an approach that emphasizes organization-wide clarity and alignment on strategic priorities. ROL then leverages this to drive individual and collective action towards accomplishing those priorities rather than simply just satisfying metrics.