Saturday, May 25, 2013

Getting what we measure

You get (accomplish) what you measure.  Or, to say it another way, you get what you pay attention to.

This was one of the basic tenets of a conference I recently attended.  I'm a firm believer that sometimes quips  attract us just because they sound good -- they should be true because they seem clever.  We owe it to ourselves to examine phrases that seem true before we accept them as truth.

For instance -- "God won't give you more than you can handle."  It sounds like it ought to be comforting, but I don't believe it is true.  Ask the person who has way more than anyone should be able to handle.  The only reason he or she is able to continue is that there is no other option.  I think God is in the "handling," but not in the "giving."  He'll walk with us to handle anything we have to, but I won't blame God for the problem.


Do we get what we measure?  To me that phrase makes it sound like the act of measuring something makes it happen. Say, for instance, that we want our children to have an increased reading level. Does continually measuring it make it happen?  No, but reading to them might.  Encouraging them to read might.  I think what makes the goal reachable is:
  1. Realizing the necessity of having the goal.
  2. Setting the goal.
  3. Planning the intentional steps to reach the goal.
  4. Evaluating the progress to the goal.
  5. Adjusting the steps to reach the goal
Churches see dwindling attendance, so they come to a realization that they need to attract new members.  They might start measuring how many people come to church and attend worship.  Will that accomplish any worthwhile goal?  Will they get what they are measuring?

I don't think so.  The goal is wrong.  First of all, it's not really a goal, it's a vision (we want more people to come to church).  Secondly, it isn't a goal that comes from God.  Thirdly, what intentional steps are they taking to reach the goal.

Just because we spend time measuring doesn't mean we are going to accomplish what we've set out to do.

More thoughts on this soon.

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Blogger bob said...

I think it depends what you are measuring. If you are measuring a churches activity in mission with a goal of increasing mission work maybe more mission projects are put before the congregation. Maybe if we want more people in attendance we need to measure church activity that puts us in contact with the unchurched. So I agree with the statement only I think we have to measure it first.

6:36 AM  

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