Insights You have the wrong metrics

You have the wrong metrics

I sometimes think that the same challenge we have “measuring a life” is the same as the problems we have “measuring a business”. My family and I recently watched “It’s a Wonderful Life”… many of us for the first time and for me, the first time in a long while. I was struck by how much the life of George Bailey was hitting me right in the face. I sometimes ignore the perspective of “store up your treasure in heaven” and instead prioritize my personal comparison of success in terms of financial or business success terms. For those unfamiliar with George Bailey, he is a fictional character that throughout his life made choices that prioritized others, but his perception of success was wrapped up in all the things he hadn’t done, like traveling the world or making money. The movie starts with George struggling with his life and potentially choosing to end it as a last desperate attempt to give his family what he thought they needed. George was using the wrong metrics of success. There was a scene where George says, “why do we have all these children anyway” and scoffs at his falling apart house in comparison to his peers. I realized that I sometimes allow my work to cause me to do the same thing… I even have a falling apart stair spindle that I regularly put back together. I internalized that George is me… at least in the extent that I struggle with the same conflict that he struggles with.

The point of It’s a Wonderful Life and the story of George Bailey is that his family never really wanted any of that stuff. What he needed to see was that the activities he performed that built up the world around him were the ones that truly had value, not the ones that just resulted in monetary gain. The lives touched and the things of eternal value were worth more than the numerous ill-gotten-gains of Potter and the desires for a potential future. The thing about George Bailey is that he did prioritize the right things… he just felt a constant sense of lack-of-accomplishment because although he made the right choices he struggled to internalize that as success. I think many of us are in the same position. We always “wanted more for our life” than what we have so-far accomplished. If we step back however, we often find that we’ve been blessed with things that REALLY matter, not just what we thought mattered.

A few practical choices that make you prioritize what is really important:

  • Rank your priorities in your life. What is at the top, what is second?
  • List how you allocate your time or attention. Does it reflect your priorities?
  • Would the top priorities know you prioritize them? Why or why not?
  • What intentional choices would impact the heart of your life?
  • If I needed to look back on the last 5 years, what would I “do over”?
  • How would that “do over” impact my allocation toward the future?

Business Metrics and George Bailey

We do the same thing in the business world. As I work with companies helping define the enterprise strategy, often the current obsession with OKRs disconnects too far from the heart of the business. We need to measure the mission of the business, not just the lead-ups that impact it. Yes, things like leads, closed deals, and EBITDA are necessary and important. However, those things are nothing without the Mission of the Business. Why do you exist in the market? No… really… why really do you exist in the market? For a business like Concurrency it’s bringing about value in other businesses through technology. I see tremendous joy when I realize that:

  • Millions of individuals see better health coverage through our work in complex insurance payer and processing companies
  • Billions of dollars of food and millions of families eat because of platforms we have helped design and build
  • Consumer products containing metal, plastic, and other goods exist in their current form because of the work we’ve done with commodities vendors
  • Millions of families have comprehensive financial counseling through platforms we’ve worked on
  • American companies can sustain production through the pandemic and after as a result of demand and inventory optimization
  • Non-for-profits can express their mission in real and lasting ways through products we’ve helped them bring to market

Have you thought about this in regard to your company? If the answer is yes, or no, the challenge for 2024 is to look at the heart of your business and examine:

  1. How does the business mission impact the world?
  2. What would we amplify the mission?
  3. What would change if every person at the company cared about the mission and connected it to their own reason for being here?

Leveraging AI to Force Multiply

You’d think that this has nothing to do with AI… until… you realize that the core mission of AI is the mission or your business. I specifically bring up AI because if an organization isn’t focused on its mission and the relationship to people… it misses on defining the right metrics to track against.

Positioning the Right Metrics:

  • How many of my employees can apply AI as a practitioner?
  • Would my employees say that AI has enabled them to execute the mission of the organization better than a year ago?
  • How have I used AI to position a more human workplace than before? Man… does that seem counter intuitive…. but true.
  • How have I improved the customer impact (in a real and tangible way) via the application of AI into the process?

Examples of companies that have seen these impacts from AI:

  • A company that changed from simply delivering a product to advising customers that purchase the product via the expansive data they have about the industry
  • A company that improves the financial stability of countless families through progressive AI management of financial state
  • A company that mitigates fraud and drives efficiencies from medical billing practices using AI
  • A company that uses AI to create material impact to individuals with disabilities using AI that amplifies an individual’s self-sufficiency
  • A company that can eliminate gaps from the supply chain and more directly serve customers with less waste

That… is just the start… let’s get 2024 off to a great start… personally and professionally. Thanks for listening and we’ll see you around!