Excellence Is Not A Metric
Recently, I was involved in an online discussion with some writing peers concerning how compositions can be constructed for clarity.
As you can imagine the opinions expressed took us all over the map. A variety of means was brought forward to try and determine what might be an optimal way of writing and editing a work. During that discussion one of the participants said something that I think was rather profound: Excellence Is Not a Metric.
Excellence is not a metric. Five simple words, yet packing an abundance of meaning in today’s metrics-dominated world. If you look around at pretty much everything that impacts us now as people and employees it’s all dominated by how well we can measure something — the metrics. Looking at my own life in business it amazes me how much of everything that I did and everything that I demanded of my subordinates was dominated by the metrics they produced.
We worshiped the numbers. Every day, there were new ones to be dissected, sifted, and massaged into forms that others further down the line would worship as well. The one thing that we did not measure (even though the higher-ups claim that they did) was excellence. The very word rarely came up — only the holy metrics and what they purported to show.
This is the reason why I think excellence as a pursuit has fallen so far beside the road; it’s not part of any measurable metric. My writing peer was proven perfectly correct. In our worship of all things numeric, we have forgotten that some things cannot be reduced to simple numbers and equations.
And maybe… just maybe, it’s why we see so little excellence now.
Copyright 2017 John Lewis
John Lewis is a freelance writer and editor for hire. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Medium opinion piece.