Do you measure “the goods?”

Latest posts by Christine Haskell (see all)
  • Nations measure GDP.
  • Big Businesses measure Profit and Revenue.
  • Small Businesses measure
  • People measure…their weight.

Is the focus on these measures getting us to where we need to be? Probably not.

Think about it: if you buy into the (very true) notion of “if measure it you can manage it,” than you get what you measure. The measures in the GDP measures all the “bads,” and very few of the goods. GDP doesn’t register, as Robert Kennedy put it, “the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, or the intelligence of our public debate.” GDP measures everything, Kennedy concluded, “except that which makes life worthwhile.”

I get a pang when I read quotes like that because they are so true, and the energy it would take to try and change people’s perception of success is so daunting – many stop in their tracks before even starting. Those measure don’t necissarily put food on the table, kids in college…but they are equally important for a holistic quality of life.

Measures, reporting, and focusing on improvement sound too much like “discipline” that many people don’t like to do it. All sorts of excuses come up: no time, no people, not the right skills, etc. Others rely on software applications (like Quickbooks) to do the reporting.  

Measure the “Goods”

Either way, it’s important to return to your company’s vision, determine what sort of contribution you are making to the big picture (your business and your community), and come up with measures that support that vision.

Sample Social Measures

Here are some things to consider when thinking of sustainable measures for your business:

  1. Does the measure for units sold take into consideration the impact of the shipping costs, the carrying capacity of the natural resources — renewable and nonrenewable, local and nonlocal — that the community relies on?
  2. Does the measure address the carrying capacity of a community’s social capital — the connections between people in a community: the relationships of friends, families, neighborhoods, social groups, businesses, governments and their ability to cooperate, work together and interact in positive, meaningful ways?
  3. Does the measure provide a long-term view of the community?

Related Links

  • Complete sustainable indicator checklist
  • Learn more about the Economics of Happiness (video) Discussing the relationship between money and happiness, with Justin Wolfers, University of Pennsylvania; Betsey Stevenson, University of Pennsylvania; and CNBC’s Erin Burnett.
Total
0
Shares
Previous Article

An Entrepreneur's Day Out or Why I Shop Alone

Next Article

Inside the Angel Investor Mindset

Related Posts
Read More

The Fear of Commitment: Why ‘No Obligation’ Is Music to Your Customers’ Ears

We live in a world with endless options and opportunities: where to live, where to eat, where to travel. Things to do, things to see… …Things to buy.  With so many options (and many at their fingertips), why would customers want to commit to something? They wouldn’t. And often don’t. After all, having too many...
home-based businesses
Read More

The Value of Home-Based Businesses to Economic Recovery

The challenge of America’s economic recovery, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, is to spread it to every community – and especially those that have been historically excluded. The key to meeting that challenge is to appreciate the civic and economic value of an overlooked resource: home-based businesses. There are about 16 million home-based...
Read More

WJR Business Beat: Job Switchers Rewarded with Higher Pay (Episode 406)

On today's Business Beat, Jeff Sloan talks about how it's going to be more difficult and costly for small businesses to hire the best talent because job switchers during the pandemic have seen significant salary hikes. Tune in to today's Business Beat for more:   Tune in to News/Talk 760 AM WJR weekday mornings at...
startup team
Read More

5 Strategies for Building a Great Startup Team

The way you treat your employees, their time, skills and abilities in the early phases of your union as a team influences the rest of your company's course of action. Mark Zuckerberg once said, "The most important thing for you as an entrepreneur trying to build something is, you need to build a really good...