When Stick Child was a bit younger, he had a little comfort blanket. Here he is with it, dreaming about smashing up some arbitrary numerical targets. (That’s supposed to be the moon in the window by the way – not a banana).
Stick Child believed that his comfort blanket had magical powers – it kept monsters away at night and helped him sleep soundly. It felt soft and warm, so if he was ever sad he would hold it against the side of his face. It was familiar and reassuring.
Some adults adopt a similar approach.
Despite evidence that binary comparisons are incapable of telling us anything about trends or trajectories, are prone to causing unwarranted assumptions, consistently impair decision making and lead to unnecessary action as a direct result, some adults still cling to them like a comfort blanket. (The same applies to numerical targets and league tables).
In case of any confusion, here’s a simple guide:
So, to conclude: binary comparisons do not have magical powers and any ‘reassurance’ they appear to provide is false.
Comfort blankets can be great for children, but adults need to let go.
Reblogged this on Simple Things.
I work for a company that follows the ‘targets are what we measure performance on’ and as a ST for a number of years it is so difficult explaining how arbitrary these binary comparisons are especially when tied to RAG indicators. We even had a boss that banned the use of red pens used on the ‘target board’ when a director was coming in as he didn’t want the director to see we weren’t hitting targets . Such is the idiocy of some people.