- Does the census inform the level of infrastructure development we need to support population growth? Do grades or standardized testing really tell us how effective our schools systems are or how well-educated our children are? Does social security, which is based on income data and not financial situation, really provide for those who most need it?
- Does the level of a corporate CEO’s salary measure their effectiveness as a leader? Do quarterly profit figures really reflect the value of a company and its performance? Do sales targets, which focus on number of ‘sales closed” indicate the quality of those accounts? Do quarterly productivity measurements (GDP of our economy) really tell us how strong our economy is? Do unemployment figures really tell us how healthy the economy is when, sometimes, a drop in employment can indicate that people have given up looking for work?
- Doctors are evaluated by number of patients seen each day, but does that tell us how healthy we are? Length of hospital stays may tell us how efficient an institution is, but not how well we are cared for. Crime rate statistics encourage the construction of jails, but does that mean we are dealing effectively with the root of the problems? Monitoring the percentage of homeownership pushed lenders to give mortgages to people who couldn’t afford them – did that help increase the number of homes?
In our SPI Green Firm Certification program, we’ve looked at moving “up the pipe” from LEED and the measurement of building performance to the “root causes” and the measurement of organizational capability and collaboration. As the program grows and we observe the changes taking place in all scales and types of organizations, we will continue to search for more indicators and ask better questions. It is our hope that this is one sign of a shifting culture – that all of us collectively are starting to focus on effectiveness and impact and not just what we can count.