Choosing your battles II

Sometimes, choosing your battles is not just about the strategy that was first determined but the metrics that we choose to track our progress along the strategy. Using the wrong metrics can lead us to adopt the wrong tactics when executing the right strategies. At the end of the day, the wrong metrics causes us to lose sight of the strategy that we are pursuing and go down the wrong path entirely.

For example, there is this curious point about services job creation and de-industrialisation of an economy. A government might be pursuing a strategy of job creation and targeting to attract particular FDIs so they track their own performance by looking at the manufacturing job growth each year. Concurrently, the manufacturing companies are increasingly looking at outsourcing so the security guard at the factory is now employed by a security company rather than the factory, though he is still guarding the same facility. At the same time, the truck drivers are now hired by a logistics firm who took over the fleet of trucks delivering the output of the factory to the port. Total number of jobs that this factory created and kept has not changed but on the statistics, it would seem that manufacturing jobs have declined because those who were previously directly hired by the factory have been re-employed by services firms. The government might start thinking despite attracting much manufacturing FDI, the manufacturing job growth is low and so they might want to pursue a different strategy, not realising that they are embarking on the right strategy but just looking at the wrong metrics.

Their subsequent decision might derail the overall policy actions that was supposed to address the issue of job creation in the economy. Likewise, companies and businesses needs to think about the right metrics when they are tracking progress of their strategies. Have you thought whether your metrics are still serving you well as an individual?