Seth Godin recently posted about how we measure success. He suggested that Sometimes, we can’t measure what we need, so we invent a proxy, something that’s much easier to measure and stands in as an approximation.
His examples included the “A business person might choose cash in the bank as a measure of his success at his craft, and a book publisher, unable to easily figure out if the right people are engaging with a book, might rely instead on a rank on a single bestseller list. One last example: the non-profit that uses money raised as a proxy for difference made.”
For a long while, Cardinal Keeler could not resist mentioning how many times the Sacrament of Reconciliation was being celebrated with teens at the Youth Retreat House.Yet, here’s the concern… What’s our proxy? Is it numbers for attendance overall or for a specific program/event? Confirmation stats? Service Hours?
When we embrace some standard as the proxy, we might find ourselves improving the proxy instead of focusing on our original (more important) goal instead. Wherever your proxy is at, what was your original goal? Gaming the system is never the goal. The goal is the goal.