Manage By Walking Around http://jonathanbecher.com Aligning Execution With Strategy Sun, 28 Jun 2020 22:59:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.3.4 https://i1.wp.com/jonathanbecher.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/cropped-jb-logo.jpg?fit=32%2C32 Manage By Walking Around http://jonathanbecher.com 32 32 56894116 Shining a light on the Spotlight Effect http://jonathanbecher.com/2020/06/28/the-spotlight-effect/ http://jonathanbecher.com/2020/06/28/the-spotlight-effect/#comments Sun, 28 Jun 2020 22:54:19 +0000 http://jonathanbecher.com/?p=7535 Have you ever done something completely embarrassing and assumed that everyone is staring at you, only to later discover that no one really noticed? The reality is that other people pay much less attention to you than you think. This is called the Spotlight Effect. The spotlight effect is the tendency for people to overestimate...

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Have you ever done something completely embarrassing and assumed that everyone is staring at you, only to later discover that no one really noticed? The reality is that other people pay much less attention to you than you think. This is called the Spotlight Effect.

The spotlight effect is the tendency for people to overestimate both the degree to which they are observed by others and the degree to which others care about the things they do notice about them. This phenomenon was vividly demonstrated in a classic 1999 study in which student participants were asked to wear a bright yellow t-shirt with a large picture of Barry Manilow’s head to an introductory psychology class. The participants predicted that 50% of the other students in the lecture would notice their embarrassing t-shirt but, in fact, only 25% of their classmates actually remembered seeing it.

The researchers recreated the experiment using t-shirts with less embarrassing faces (i.e. Jerry Seinfeld, Martin Luther King, Jr., or Bob Marley) and found the same results.

Students wearing the shirt greatly overestimated the percentage of others who actually remembered it.

The spotlight effect is not limited to visual memory but equally applies to auditory memory. The same researchers divided student participants into groups to discuss “the problem of inner cities in the U.S.” and to draft a policy statement with their recommendation. Afterwards, the participants were asked to write down the five most remarkable comments made during the discussion – either good or bad. As expected by the spotlight effect, participants mentioned their own good and bad comments much more frequently than other people remembered them.

The spotlight effect is to be expected because we interpret every situation based on our own biases and experiences. If we notice something, we assume that everyone else would notice it as well. And, if we interpret it as bad or embarrassing, we assume that others will also. However, everyone else is a product of their own biases and experiences – they are much more likely paying attention to their world and not noticing yours!

So, the next time you think the world is shining a spotlight on a mistake you have made, relax. It is much more likely that no one noticed.

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The Origin of the Phrase “Bring Home the Bacon” http://jonathanbecher.com/2020/06/14/bring-home-the-bacon/ http://jonathanbecher.com/2020/06/14/bring-home-the-bacon/#respond Sun, 14 Jun 2020 19:48:22 +0000 http://jonathanbecher.com/?p=7520 The phrase “bring home the bacon” is commonly understood to mean to earn money. But where did the phrase come from? The answer might be surprising. Most on-line sources claim the phrase originated in 1104 in a small town in Essex, England. A local Lord and his wife dressed themselves as common folk and asked...

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The phrase “bring home the bacon” is commonly understood to mean to earn money. But where did the phrase come from? The answer might be surprising.

Most on-line sources claim the phrase originated in 1104 in a small town in Essex, England. A local Lord and his wife dressed themselves as common folk and asked the local Prior for a blessing for not arguing after a year of being married. The Prior, impressed by their devotion, gave them a side of bacon (a ‘flitch’). After revealing his true identity, the Lord gave land to the monastery on the condition they awarded flitches to couples who proved they were similarly devoted.

A regular contest was started with contestants coming from far and wide; the winners would bring home the bacon. This contest, called the Dunmow Flitch, still continues every four years. The tradition was certainly well known in England and therefore a plausible origin for the phrase. Chaucer mentioned it in “The Wife of Bath’s Tale” (circa 1395) and there is a documented list of winners from the 1400’s in the British Museum.

However, I prefer another [sports] origin for bring home the bacon.

Joe Gans, Boxing Hall of Fame

On September 3, 1906 Joe Gans won the world lightweight boxing championship in an epic 42-round battle (still the longest fight in modern boxing history). The next day, the Syracuse NY Post-Standard newspaper reported that Gans’ mother had sent him a telegram before the fight which read:

Joe, the eyes of the world are on you. Everybody says you ought to Win. Peter Jackson will tell me the news. Bring home the bacon.”

(Other newspapers reported the story in a similar fashion.) According to a 1906 New York Times article, Gans replied to his mother that he “had not only the bacon, but the gravy.” Apparently, Gans also later sent his mother $6,000 of the $30,000 prize money.

Given the widespread coverage of the fight, within weeks the phrase became commonly-used by sports writers. At first, the references were limited to boxing but later expanded to other sports like horse racing, baseball, and football. Soon, bringing home the bacon became synonymous with winning and making money.

Joe Gans was the first African-American to win a World Boxing Championship, is in the Boxing Hall of Fame, and was perhaps the greatest lightweight boxer of all time. And, although she probably didn’t invent the phrase, Gans’ mother deserves credit for popularizing “bring home the bacon.” Score a knockout for Mrs. Gans.

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Endowed Progress Effect: When Head Starts Are An Illusion http://jonathanbecher.com/2020/05/24/endowed-progress-effect/ http://jonathanbecher.com/2020/05/24/endowed-progress-effect/#respond Sun, 24 May 2020 23:45:47 +0000 http://jonathanbecher.com/?p=7509 If you want someone to achieve a goal, you should give them a head start – even if that head start is really just an illusion. Loyalty programs are based on the idea that consumers are more likely to repeat purchase if they are given incentives to reach specific goals with well-defined rewards. A classic...

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If you want someone to achieve a goal, you should give them a head start – even if that head start is really just an illusion.

Loyalty programs are based on the idea that consumers are more likely to repeat purchase if they are given incentives to reach specific goals with well-defined rewards. A classic example is the airline industry: consumers often prefer a specific airline in the hopes of earning enough miles for a free flight, even when lower cost or more convenient options are available.

Researchers Nunes and Drèze showed that people who are provided with artificial advancement towards a goal exhibit greater persistence towards reaching the goal. Artificial advancement means giving a head start towards a goal while simultaneously moving the goal away by the same amount. They dubbed this the endowed progress effect.

Credit: @ianbatterbee

Nunes and Drèze demonstrated the endowed progress effect using a loyalty program at a car wash. There were two versions of the loyalty program which stamped a card for every purchase. The first version required 8 stamps to receive a free car wash while the second required 10 stamps but two stamps were filled in a special sign-up promotion. In the first version, only 19% of the members redeemed a free car wash while 34% redeemed in the second. The difference is despite the fact both versions required eight purchases and provided the exact same reward.

The researchers explained this behavior based on the goal gradient effect – people who perceive they are closer to a goal usually exert more effort. In the first version of the loyalty program, people start off 0% towards an 8-stamp goal; in the second, they start off 20% towards a 10-stamp goal. While the level of effort is the same, the head start stamps provide the illusion that the task is incomplete rather than not yet begun.

Nunes and Drèze experimented with variants of the loyalty program showing that the endowed progress effect increased the likelihood people would join a loyalty program, the perceived attractiveness of the program, and peoples’ subjective assessment of whether they would achieve the rewards. There was one caveat: the endowed progress effect disappeared when there was no reason given for the head start. The reason could but completely arbitrary – for example, a special promotion – but a reason for the head start had to be given.

Clearly, anyone designing a loyalty program should always provide a head start towards the goal. The endowed progress effect shows customers will be more loyal. It’s why you get free miles when you sign up for an airline reward program.

You may be tempted to use the endowed program effect for your company’s performance management goals but you shouldn’t. The research shows the effect is limited to task-oriented goals in which the reward is only granted when the entire task is completed. And it would be a bad idea to make your company’s goals all or another. Right?

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Lockdown Lingo http://jonathanbecher.com/2020/05/03/lockdown-lingo/ http://jonathanbecher.com/2020/05/03/lockdown-lingo/#respond Sun, 03 May 2020 19:40:00 +0000 http://jonathanbecher.com/?p=7483 The shelter-in-place / stay-at-home orders have triggered new words and phrases in our collective vocabularies. Some of them existed before but have become more commonly used: coronavirus, pandemic, and virtual happy hour. But others are newly created to describe our COVID-19 mandated world. They are descriptive portmanteaus which aren’t likely to stay in our vocabularies...

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Lockdown lingo

The shelter-in-place / stay-at-home orders have triggered new words and phrases in our collective vocabularies. Some of them existed before but have become more commonly used: coronavirus, pandemic, and virtual happy hour. But others are newly created to describe our COVID-19 mandated world. They are descriptive portmanteaus which aren’t likely to stay in our vocabularies long-term.

Here are my favorite examples of lockdown lingo:

Quaranteam
The people you are living with make up your ‘quaranteam’. Whether they are family, housemates, or friends, this is the group of people who need to help get you through the pandemic. If you are by yourself, you’re ‘quaransolo’.

Coronacoaster
The psychological rollercoaster you experience during the coronavirus pandemic. One minute you’re loving being at home and binging TV, and the next minute you’re overcome with anxiety. It’s an emotional ‘coronacoaster’.

Coronadose
This is what happens when you overdose on too much media, filled with bad news about coronavirus. If you’re not careful, this can result in a ‘panicdemic’.

Isobeard
Lots of men have decided to stop shaving, even those who normally don’t have beards. These often straggly patches of facial hair are called ‘isobeards’ (isolation + beards).

Maskara
Putting on makeup, especially eyeshadow, before going out in public – even though you’re wearing a face mask.

COVID-10
Not a previous incarnation of the coronavirus, but rather the 10 pounds we’re all gaining from eating too many comfort foods. Perhaps we all misunderstood the instructions to ‘fatten the curve’.

Quarantinis
Cocktails created from whatever ingredients you might have lying around, not just martinis. The alcoholic version of leftover stew. Quarantinis are drunk during ‘locktail hour’ and contribute to COVID-10.

Quarantoned
While most of us seem to be overeating and drinking, there are a wide variety of fitness challenges and home workouts that try to help you become ‘quarantoned’.

Coronials
The next generation of babies conceived or born during coronavirus shelter-in-place. They aren’t Millenials or Gen-Z, but maybe they will be known as Gen-C.

The elephant in the Zoom
A glaring issue during a videoconferencing call that everyone notices but nobody talks about. For example, no one mentioning that a co-worker has a really bad isobeard or a television broadcaster isn’t wearing pants. Or perhaps being Zoom-bombed by a sports mascot (although that might be called ‘the shark in the Zoom’):

Do you have a favorite coronavirus lockdown lingo to add to the list?

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Surprise! 10,000 steps was a marketing ploy http://jonathanbecher.com/2020/04/19/10000-steps-was-a-marketing-ploy/ http://jonathanbecher.com/2020/04/19/10000-steps-was-a-marketing-ploy/#respond Sun, 19 Apr 2020 23:52:26 +0000 http://jonathanbecher.com/?p=7470 For many years, my routine was a Sunday hike followed by a Sunday blog. For a variety of reasons, both my hiking and blogging have become erratic. After skipping yet another Sunday hike, I was surprised to find that I still had exceeded 10,000 steps per day for the past week. 10,000 is the number...

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For many years, my routine was a Sunday hike followed by a Sunday blog. For a variety of reasons, both my hiking and blogging have become erratic. After skipping yet another Sunday hike, I was surprised to find that I still had exceeded 10,000 steps per day for the past week. 10,000 is the number the World Health Organization recommends, fitness apps urge us to reach, and that has become conventional wisdom.

Surprisingly, there’s little to no science behind 10,000 steps.

Instead, it appears to be the result of good marketing. To capitalize on the popularity of the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games, a Japanese company called Yamasa Clock created a personal-fitness pedometer called the Manpo-kei. The name derives from the Japanese words “man” meaning 10,000, “po” meaning steps, and “kei” meaning system. (Native speakers, please correct me if I’ve gotten this wrong.)

So, why 10,000 steps? It could be simply an easy number to remember. Research found that the average Japanese person took between 3,500 and 5,000 steps per day. Increasing their daily step count to 10,000 would likely decrease risk of heart disease.

However, another theory – and one that appeals to me – is that the number was chosen because the Japanese character for 10,000 looks like a person walking. The easy-to-remember number and the visual reinforcement worked. The pedometer was hugely successful and the 10,000 number is still in use more than 50 years later.

While 10,000 steps is a memorable target, it can be counter-productive. A Duke University study found that people who tracked their steps enjoyed it less, reporting that walking felt like work. A University of Texas at Austin study showed that one hour of exercise was much less beneficial if the rest of the day was spent sitting and sleeping; 10,000 steps would better split up over multiple periods in the day.

In short, one size doesn’t fit all. There is no magic answer as to how many steps you should take every day. The best answer is whatever personally motivates you – and that might be to not even track how many steps you’re taking.

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Caffeine Is The New Oil http://jonathanbecher.com/2020/03/29/caffeine-is-the-new-oil/ http://jonathanbecher.com/2020/03/29/caffeine-is-the-new-oil/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2020 00:05:53 +0000 http://jonathanbecher.com/?p=7461 If you’ve listened to a talk from a tech company over the last few years, you’ve almost certainly heard someone proclaim that data is the new oil. The phrase is widely attributed to British mathematician Clive Humby way back in 2006 who explained: Data is the new oil. It’s valuable, but if unrefined it cannot...

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If you’ve listened to a talk from a tech company over the last few years, you’ve almost certainly heard someone proclaim that data is the new oil. The phrase is widely attributed to British mathematician Clive Humby way back in 2006 who explained:

Data is the new oil. It’s valuable, but if unrefined it cannot really be used. It has to be changed into gas, plastic, chemicals, etc. to create a valuable entity that drives profitable activity; so must data be broken down, analyzed for it to have value.

Even though this phrase is commonplace, it’s debated whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing.

The debate may not be worth having because caffeine might really be the new oil.

Michael Pollan, celebrated author of multiple books including The Omnivore’s Dilemma, makes that claim in his new audio-only book How Caffeine Created the Modern World. Pollan calls caffeine “the most-used drug in the world”, claiming that 80% of the world’s population consumes it every day — including children (consumed as soda). In an interview in Fortune Magazine, Pollan points out that being caffeinated is no longer an unusual state but rather our baseline of human consciousness.

If data has changed the world, caffeine made it possible. Cue legions of programmers living off of vats of caffeine. But caffeine’s impact is much wider and deeper than that.

Backed by research, Pollan shows how caffeine changed the course of human history – deciding wars, creating businesses, changing politics, and even spurring the Industrial Revolution. Over time, coffee replaced alcohol as the most popular daytime drink for American and European workers. This allowed longer hours for workers and made them less prone to accidents. As a result, productivity dramatically increased across all industries.

Caffeine is amazingly self-sustaining. Caffeine plants attract bees and other insects needed for pollination. However, bees can get addicted to caffeine just like humans – ensuring they return for pollination and keeping the plants alive.

Caffeine contains an inorganic compound that attaches to receptors in your nervous system blocking a chemical that tells your body when it is running out of energy. Because the quarter-life of the compound is 12 hours, it can inhibit your body from entering a deep sleep which can cause you to wake up tired. In another self-sustaining cycle, caffeine’s main use is to mask the problem it creates by helping users be more alert after waking up.

Oil is powerful. Data is powerful. But caffeine is even more powerful.

Someone will eventually coin the phrase: “_____ is the new caffeine.” I wonder what the _____ will be.

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Books To Read Now, 2020 Edition http://jonathanbecher.com/2020/03/22/books-to-read-now-2020-edition/ http://jonathanbecher.com/2020/03/22/books-to-read-now-2020-edition/#comments Mon, 23 Mar 2020 00:00:45 +0000 http://jonathanbecher.com/?p=7447 It’s been a little more than a week since (mostly) everyone in Silicon Valley started sheltering in place and, surprisingly (to me, at least), I haven’t made a dent in my antilibrary. Truth be told, I’ve only read about 100 pages of a single book during that time. Part of the reason is that I’ve...

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It’s been a little more than a week since (mostly) everyone in Silicon Valley started sheltering in place and, surprisingly (to me, at least), I haven’t made a dent in my antilibrary. Truth be told, I’ve only read about 100 pages of a single book during that time. Part of the reason is that I’ve been busier with work than I expected but I have also prioritized the escapism of television.

As I miss reading, I spent some time this morning selecting the books I will try to read over the coming weeks. I based this list on recommendations I’ve gotten from friends and a little online research. Here are five books I would like to read next, including my rationale:

Wow, No Thank You by Samantha Irby
Another collection of essays from the same author of “We Are Never Meeting in Real Life.” Never Meeting was oddly funny; highlighted by a weird cat named Helen Keller. If this book is half as weird and half as funny, it will be worth it.

Path of Least Resistance by Robert Fritz
A close friend gifted this to me over the holidays with the following note “A guide on achieving goals. Not a new age self-help book or a pop psycho-science blockbuster. It’s a difficult read but ultimately worth it.” High risk but potentially high reward.

Temporary by Hilary Leichter
This review intrigued me: “Hilary Leichter’s debut novel takes everything you’ve already seen and read about – be it Office Space or the work of Douglas Coupland – and tosses it into a shaker with some ice and a whole lot of 90-proof whiskey.”

Lifespan: Why We Age―and Why We Don’t Have To by David Sinclair
NY Times best seller. One of Time Magazine’s most influential people. Sinclair claims lifestyle change like eating less meat, intermittent fasting, and exercising with the right intensity can help us live healthier for longer.

Seeing like a State by James C. Scott
Subtitled “How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed.” The book claims that central planning and large-scale interventions by authoritarian states are bound to fail. Written in 1999 but highly pertinent in today’s environment.

Five books are a lot to read in the next few weeks but then I do have a little extra time on my hands. If any of these books inspire me, I will dedicate a future blog to them.

If you’ve read any of these books, please leave a mini review in the comments.

Stay safe. Shelter in place.

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How Super Is The Super Bowl? 2020 Edition http://jonathanbecher.com/2020/02/03/how-super-is-super-bowl-2020-edition/ http://jonathanbecher.com/2020/02/03/how-super-is-super-bowl-2020-edition/#comments Tue, 04 Feb 2020 05:00:01 +0000 http://jonathanbecher.com/?p=7433 With more than 114M viewers, Super Bowl XLIX in 2015 was the most-watched broadcast in the U.S. according to Nielsen ratings. The next four Super Bowls had declining ratings, with 2019’s Super Bowl XLII yielding only 98M viewers – the lowest since 2009. The overnight ratings for this year’s Super Bowl suggest the trend was...

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With more than 114M viewers, Super Bowl XLIX in 2015 was the most-watched broadcast in the U.S. according to Nielsen ratings. The next four Super Bowls had declining ratings, with 2019’s Super Bowl XLII yielding only 98M viewers – the lowest since 2009. The overnight ratings for this year’s Super Bowl suggest the trend was broken with a small improvement to 102M viewers.

While the viewership for the 2015 Super Bowl seems impressive, it’s worth putting it into perspective by considering the total potential viewership. According to Nielsen, the 2015 game had a household share of 71 (defined as % of households with TVs in use that are watching the game) which, due to population increases, doesn’t even rank it in the top 10 Super Bowls. By comparison, the 1976 Super Bowl is the highest-rated ever with a household share of 78.

Clearly, a higher percentage of households is more impressive than a higher number of households. This is the challenge with breathless articles (and many company dashboards) which highlight ego metrics focused on big numbers, rather than what is  trying to be accomplished. We should focus on outcome metrics as opposed to activity ones.

All of the hype around how many people watch the Super Bowl also overlooks the built-in advantages it has on other sports. As I wrote a decade ago, the Super Bowl is a single game on a fixed date which is known years in advance – during the time of year when the weather minimizes distractions. This isn’t true for baseball or hockey.

By comparison, the 1986 World Series was estimated to have been seen by 254M viewers over the 7-game series. Of course, people likely tuned in for more than one game so the number of unique viewers was lower. The deciding game seven had a 55 share; the highest ever for a baseball game.

The only way to know if the Super Bowl is really the most-watched broadcast would be to compare it to the Olympics or World Cup. Unfortunately, there’s no consistent measuring system and published estimates of these events have been shown to be inaccurate. For this reason, most people cite the Super Bowl as the most-watched U.S. televised program.

I can’t say for certain the Super Bowl is the most-watched but I’ll definitely support the idea that it’s the most-hyped.

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New Year’s Resolutions Shenanigans, 2020 edition http://jonathanbecher.com/2019/12/22/new-years-resolutions-shenanigans-2020-edition/ http://jonathanbecher.com/2019/12/22/new-years-resolutions-shenanigans-2020-edition/#comments Sun, 22 Dec 2019 22:17:01 +0000 http://jonathanbecher.com/?p=7428 It’s the time of year when New Year’s resolutions are ubiquitous. In a quick search, I found more than 100 articles published in the last week alone. Apparently, we’ve all resolved to write about resolutions. While they are common, New Year’s resolutions are notoriously difficult to keep – only 1/3 of people who make resolutions keep them...

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It’s the time of year when New Year’s resolutions are ubiquitous. In a quick search, I found more than 100 articles published in the last week alone. Apparently, we’ve all resolved to write about resolutions.

While they are common, New Year’s resolutions are notoriously difficult to keep – only 1/3 of people who make resolutions keep them for longer than a few days. Part of the reason is that the resolutions are typically made at the beginning of the year and aren’t updated as circumstances change. Worse still, resolutions often have unrealistic targets. When the gap between where you currently are and what you want to achieve is too large, people can easily get demotivated. Similar problems can plague corporate goals.

A decade ago, I decided to have a bit of fun with this resolution-mania and posted my own tongue-in-cheek 2010 resolutions. A year later, I graded how well I lived up to my resolutions. As it turned out, I did pretty well.

For 2020, I updated the original list of resolutions to be more in synch with the times:

  1. Less reading on Apple devices; more eating apples.
  2. Make sure my personal blog isn’t a Big Load OGarbage
  3. Hope that my eyesight stops fading and returns to 2020.
  4. Encourage everyone to do more hand washing, less digital washing.
  5. Won’t swim with the sharks; might skate with The Sharks
  6. Leave time for writing. For fun. On non-tech subjects.
  7. Spend more time reading my anti-library.
  8. Balance online social tech-tools with IRL social old-school.
  9. Institute a ban on rubber chicken dinners at events.
  10. And my most important New Year’s resolution:

Enjoy the journey. Sometimes we get caught up in goals/destinations and forget to revel in what’s going on around us.

In the comments, let me know if any of these resolutions resonate with you.

Happy New Year everyone.

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Compare Yourself to Yourself http://jonathanbecher.com/2019/12/15/compare-yourself-to-yourself/ http://jonathanbecher.com/2019/12/15/compare-yourself-to-yourself/#respond Mon, 16 Dec 2019 04:27:11 +0000 http://jonathanbecher.com/?p=7420 I’m a big proponent of using scorecards to monitor progress to well-defined objectives. Earlier in my career, I ran a software company that used scorecards to help dozens of companies around the world ensure their execution was in line with their strategy. When using scorecards, I’ve cautioned that unless you compare yourself against an external...

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I’m a big proponent of using scorecards to monitor progress to well-defined objectives. Earlier in my career, I ran a software company that used scorecards to help dozens of companies around the world ensure their execution was in line with their strategy. When using scorecards, I’ve cautioned that unless you compare yourself against an external benchmark you might not know whether you’re really making progress.

This quote from the HBO documentary Becoming Warren Buffett made me think about these long-held beliefs:

The big question about how people behave is whether they’ve got an inner scorecard or an outer scorecard. It helps if you can be satisfied with an inner scorecard.

For individuals, an outer scorecard could turn into an unhealthy comparison to what others have. This might be based on unrealistic expectations (“I wish I was as tall as he is”) or material comparisons (“she has more money than I have”). While comparing yourself to others can be motivational, too often it becomes destructive and, in the extreme, can allow others to drive your behavior. To make matters worse, you often compare their best features against your average ones.

On the other hand, an inner scorecard relies on internal comparisons. You ask yourself whether you are improving your performance, making progress towards goals, or focusing on things important to you. Relying on self-motivation can be difficult for many people but, when done well, forces you to focus on your values and beliefs.

While I understand Buffet’s caution, I believe a blend of internal and external comparisons can work for both individuals and corporations. The key is to focus and to understand you can’t be the best in everything. For example, if you want to compare yourself on ten different dimensions, pick one or two you want to excel in (best in class or nearly so). For these one or two focus dimensions, use an outer scorecard to compare yourself to everyone else.

For the rest of the dimensions, an outer scorecard should show that you are above average. Instead, an inner scorecard is usually preferable for these dimensions, as its more important to show you are making continuous improvements rather than external comparisons.

In other words, for most things you should compare yourself to yourself. Except for those things you want to be best at.

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