Good things come to those who wait

I usually don’t read forwarded email messages, unless they come with a note. I think my colleague understands that, and hence, chose to add a note. And so I chose to read it. It was waxing eloquent about the need for measurement. And I couldn’t help but disagree with it. Not that I am against measurement, but some of the examples quoted in the article – including love, relationships – start posing immense problems when we set out to measure them.

“Measurement is the first step that leads to control and eventually to improvement. If you can’t measure something, you can’t understand it. If you can’t understand it, you can’t control it. If you can’t control it, you can’t improve it.”
― H. James Harrington

There seems to be this obsession with measurement and improvement that I sometimes fail to understand. And that shows all around us. For instance, I see a deluge of wearable technology all around me, including fitness bands and the likes. And I can say with some amount of confidence that not all these people really do get fit! This is not to decry the role of measurement, but just to caution against the overdose of it.

A grave consequence of this large scale obsession with measurement shows in the field of education. And even as I say this, I can visualise the strongest votaries of large scale educational testing, pounce on me for saying this.It seems obvious that education is becoming more and more centered on measurement. Suddenly, we realise, that everyone has forgotten the very purpose we started out with – that was to improve learning outcomes. So we have the classic case of teaching to the test, so to speak. More measurement, less learning.

The irony of work at EZV, is the fact that a large portion of what we are trying to do is hard, if not impossible to measure. Not only this, the results simply take time to show in even rudimentary forms. I don’t remember the exact quote, but it had to do something with what is worth measuring, by Sir Ken. Given that it is all so intangible, do we give up then? At EZV, we believe that our only hope lies in working harder towards the intangibles, in not ceasing to put in our efforts and in waiting patiently for things to happen. I am grateful to EZV for teaching me patience. As Chitra says it, I am learning to be ‘impatient when it comes to putting in the effort, and yet, patient, when it comes to expecting the results’.

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3 thoughts on “Good things come to those who wait

  1. Bellissimo. You are on a ‘side’ now. 🙂 Yes, this obsession with measurement is maddening; the method unproductive. This post reminded me of Peter Senge’s concept of feedback, our nature of instant reaction to results, and how, in the process, we fail to see the change. Had to do a little google search (the book is back home). In the Fifth Discipline, I think it’s Chapter 5 [Feedback] (“discussion about delays and how they come into play to affect the behavior of systems which contain them.”)

    IMO, we can measure what we do. Doing is the prerequisite. 🙂

    Please keep doing this. I am loving every post in this series. And three cheers for EZV. 🙂

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