What We Aim For…

More important than what we do?


Thanks to New Urban Habitat’s Hopeful Weekend Links list, I read The Happiest Countries in the World article this morning.

I was pleasantly surprised to learn the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) decided to collect and report data regarding “top countries” much differently from how countries have historically been rated ‘tops’ – (Gross Domestic Product – GDP standards):

“What we measure affects what we do,” the three economists concluded, “and if our measurements are flawed, decisions may be distorted.”

The secret to success in one sentence.   Bet these folks had Greenbelt training!


6 Sigma Greenbelt (basic level) training in process improvement is based upon collecting data, examining the metrics and making changes based on that data.   It’s a process that relies heavily on first stating where you want to go (aim) and how to determine whether you’re on the right track or not (what data to collect/view?)

Supposedly, it is a logical process that keeps folks focused on where they are, ensures they well define where they want to be (objective) and lays out, in no uncertain terms,  the breakdowns and problems needing correction before the stated goal can be reached.

If a group of committed team members (without undue interference from their bosses or other special interest groups) are left to tackle the issue utilizing the 6 Sigma tools, I can tell you absolutely extraordinary improvements with long-term benefits are achieved.

And catastrophic failure if they are unduly swayed by outside forces or given information dubbed critical, that actually is not.

Target objectives designed without due thought and the collection/reporting of the wrong data needed to make a decision, are, in my experience, the top two quickest ways to turn mediocrity into disaster.


In Matthew Taylor’s 21st Century Enlightenment speech to RSA the importance of what we aim for is also highlighted:


There is a theory in quantum physics that states:

Nothing exists until it is observed and/or measured.

Perhaps happiness has been on the decline because as a nation, we’ve been measuring it utilizing the wrong data.

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