Have a go at theÂ challenge below. In each case, select answer â€˜aâ€™ or answer â€™bâ€™ in response to the question, â€œWhich is better?â€
a) â€œCan I have a cup of tea please?â€
b) â€œCan I have 61% of a cup of tea please?â€
a) â€œMake sure you do your homeworkâ€.
b) â€œMake sure you do your homework 80% of the timeâ€.
a) “I insist my water bill is accurate”.
b) “I insist my water bill is 79% accurate”.
a) â€œCatch burglarsâ€.
b) â€œCatch burglars in 18% of casesâ€.
a) â€œGet to emergencies as quickly and safely as possibleâ€.
b) â€œFaster than 15 minutes is good; slower than 15 minutes is badâ€.
a) â€œProvide the best possible serviceâ€.
b) â€œAim for 75% of customers to be satisfiedâ€.
‘Analysis’ of results
If you answered:
Mainly â€˜aâ€™ â€“ Nice one. Not difficult though, was it?
Mainly â€˜bâ€™ â€“ Why? No, seriously, why?
Okay, so thatÂ little quizÂ was prettyÂ silly. Joking apart, that’sÂ because the answer ‘b’ position is silly. There is a serious point though, and it’sÂ this:
â€˜Why would anyone believe aiming to achieve a fraction of a worthwhile objective is better than aiming to achieve the overall objective?â€™
This is yet another reason why numerical targets are a big fat #FAIL
You mightÂ attain 100%; you might not. In many cases there will be external factors that prevent the attainment of perfection. Nevertheless, it is still better to aim for 100% and use the right measures in the right way to understand and improve the system, than it is aim for an arbitrary numerical target that defines â€˜successâ€™ in terms of an answer â€˜bâ€™.
(Note: If you got mainly ‘b’s, you might find reading this blog therapeutic. If that’s unsuccessful, then perhaps repeating ‘numerical targets do work’ to yourself over and over againÂ might help. Mind you, don’t complain when your water bill isÂ wrong or your kids refuse to do their homework…)