How Do You Measure Up?

Rod Pickett
2 min readApr 22, 2024

What gets measured gets managed — even when it’s pointless to measure and manage it, and even if it harms the purpose of the organization to do so.
Simon Caulkin

A Soviet-era nail factory was reportedly rewarded for the number of nails it produced. So, the production manager shifted to making only small nails, too small for most applications.

So Central Planning changed the metric; compensation would now be based on the total weight of the output.

The production manager then shrewdly shifted production to the largest nails.

It is easy to ridicule a system that relies on simplistic goals.

But how often do we ask ourselves if we are measuring the right things?

Many workers are paid according to how many hours they are at work or pretend to be working from home.

Many salespeople get paid based on their production relative to a quota set at the beginning of the year.

Many executives get bonuses determined by the short-term profitability of the company.

These measurements might not give us the results we hope for.

Students are graded primarily by how they perform on tests. After graduation, however, the tests are rarely announced in advance or limited to what was covered in class.

What exactly do we expect from education?

Is it primarily to collect information?

Albert Einstein said the only thing a person needs to remember is the location of the library.

Today, we don’t even need that.

It’s easy to measure how much information a student can accurately repeat back to a teacher.

But how do you measure curiosity? Or creativity?

Just because something is being measured doesn’t mean it is important.

Not everything that can be measured is important.

Not everything that is important can be measured.

This doesn’t apply only to business and education.

It also matters to our personal lives.

What is the measure of your life?

Is it the size of your portfolio?

Is it the number of followers you have on social media?

Is it the square feet of your house?

I can’t answer that for you.

Don’t just accept the criteria that society seems to think are important.

What is important to you?

How would you measure that?

Are you becoming the person you were meant to be?

— Rod Pickett

Now available at Amazon: The Courageous Heart: Wisdom for Difficult Times in paperback and eBook, an Eric Hoffer Award Finalist, a must-read for anyone seeking inspiration and guidance. Get your copy today.



Rod Pickett

Rod Pickett is a writer, pastor, teacher, photographer, real estate broker, personal trainer, consultant, trained hypnotist, woodworker and life-long learner.