The Danger of Making Metrics Your Goals

Salespeople rewarded for hitting their revenue targets could be tempted to closing questionable deals when faced with the prospect of missing quota.

Dieters obsessed with the number on their scale may make sub-optimal health choices in order to lose weight.

I used to always measure how fast I was running or how much I could lift. Sure, that helped me push my fitness limits. But then I was always disappointed when the numbers weren’t improving.

Metrics definitely can make our lives better. We just need to be careful that they actually do.

(related: Professor Marilyn Strathern describes Goodhart’s law as: “When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.”