I want to talk a little bit about performance, about achievement, about success. I want to talk a little bit about work, about education, about life. The reality is, that if I hit 0.0001% of the issues that I want to talk about, I’ll have done a good job. Because these things are complex, they are interlinked and intrinsically entwined with a myriad of other issues.
But everything starts somewhere. So let us consider this the somewhere of starts.
We constantly talk about “raising the bar”. The phrase in itself, so well accepted that we seldom consider its meaning. We all need to raise the bar and then we ail have sorted all of the issues that we have in society. Once the bar is raised all will be well.
Children will be educated, the unemployed will become employed, families will become more functional and businesses more community minded. The bar has been raised and thus we will respond with vim and vigour and our collective efforts will see us prevail.
The other day they raised the bar on childbirth, they also raised it on disco dancing, knitting and sky diving. Overnight, I suddenly became so much better at all of these things.
It is amazing what a bar can do. Suddenly, my learning preferences, my intellectual capability, the source of information and the quality of my education increased exponentially. They were directly connected to the bar.
But, as you know, this is bullshit.
We can focus on outputs as much as we like, but unless we focus on the inputs as well, we’re just deluding ourselves. Success is measured by outputs, but is created by inputs. And yet bizarrely we so often want to drive the former by reducing the latter.
Performance isn’t driven by hard targets. Success isn’t created by defining KPIs. Raising the bar will deliver success as quickly as increasing the tempo will help me to dance better. Or a population target will help me to give birth.
Performance, success, organisational alignment are all complex issues. If you want a better organisation, if you want a better society, if we want a better world, we need to understand the systemic nature of our existence and ignore the simplicity of readily acceptable statements.
So as our educational system will not be redefined by measuring it in another way, your organisation will not improve because you’ve set a new bunch of KPIs. And you won’t lose weight just because you’ve bought a smaller pair of jeans.
And as for me….I think my birthing days are beyond me. But maybe….if we just raise that bar. Hell…..well, you never know……