Beware the Easy Short Term Numbers

You can't judge a carrot by its leaves.

The Paine of Measurement —

For years, I’ve been advising people to “Pick your metrics carefully because you become what you measure.” Never has there been a better example of why this is important than this discussion from Peter Day’s World of Business on the BBC. Don’t miss Clayton Christensen of the Harvard Business School at about the seven minute mark. He lays the blame for the great recession of 2008 on the single-minded pursuit of the wrong definitions of success, specifically internal rate of return and return on capital. As a result, managers that chose to invest for the long term were punished and those that invested in short term returns were rewarded.

From a PR and social media measurement perspective, that’s what happens when people focus on short term numbers that they can get easily from social media, like theoretical impressions and vanity metrics. I need not reprise all my analogies about what that can lead to. My point is that this approach can lead to disasters. If, instead, you measure positioning and reputation and relationships, then chances are you’ll communicate better messages and build better relationships.

Which would you rather become, an organization with loyal customers and healthy relationships, or one with a high Klout score? ∞

Thanks to flyboy3x at Ink361 for the image.

About Author

Katie Paine

I've been called The Queen Of Measurement, but I prefer Seshat, the Goddess.