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October 31, 2006

Positive V/s Negative Metrics

"Measuring positive metrics means you move in a positive direction. Measuring negative metrics is like looking back at past failed relationships. It doesnt really get you anywhere."

Read the full post here. What do you think?

These are the thoughts I emailed to Alissa - (I just realised that this is the third consecutive post on my blog linking to her!)

"I like the distinction you draw between negative and positive metrics. I never really looked at them that way. And I think you are bang on when you say that whatever you measure must / can be improved - else its futile to measure it. However, I am wondering if we would be accurate in completely ignoring the negative metrics?

For example, in Sourcing, some common measures are "Offer to Joining Dropouts", "Interview Droputs", etc, all of which tell you at what stage of the recruitment process are you losing people. And this to me has often provided an insight into "why" I lose people and has led me to tweak / tighten the process for better outcomes. For example, a high offer to joinee drop out rate tells me that the candidate is getting excellent counter offers - so I need to figure out how I can counter that.

Ditto for Attrition - the most popular HR metric. Would you call that positive or negative?

Taking your relationship analogy forward, I would hate to dwell on previously failed relationships, but would definitely not like to commit the same mistakes! I think to the extent that they dont lead to analysis paralysis, negative metrics give you valuable inputs that you can build on."

Her responses to my email can be found here.

Her emphasis on "what went right" vis-a-vis "what went wrong" reminds me of the Positive Deviance Approach to manage change - focus on success and not failures.


  • fascinating conversation..

    have added my two bits on my blog !

    By Blogger Gautam Ghosh, at Tuesday, 31 October, 2006  

  • I would say, look at negative metrics positively. In relationships, you cant analyze past mistakes, unless you have forgiven everybody who was involved ( including yourself).
    when i was managing teams earlier, i used to encourage my team to share their mistakes, but after making sure that they dont feel vindiacted in front of others. this exercise was absolutely importatt to make sure the mistakes were not repeated by anybody.

    By Blogger Vijaya Devi, at Thursday, 02 November, 2006  

  • you havent posted since two months. Whats wrong? this is rajsm... one of ur readers...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Monday, 25 December, 2006  

  • Dah! comment moderation... hmmm.... is it just the splogs or you got real ememies :) good day...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Monday, 25 December, 2006  

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