Business Metrics Evolve to Reflect the Need For Meaning

Traditional Metrics Focus on Financial Gains

Traditional metrics have often focused on financial gains to measure success or return on investment. Focusing on financial gains as the desired end result of a business venture creates the impression that profits are more important than the overall impact of the business project. But are profits more important than ethics? A profitability focus makes it more likely that leaders and employees will justify unethical actions as the “right” actions because they lead to higher profits for the business.

Measurement is Evolving to Reflect the Need for Meaning

Today’s global marketplace and complex work life require employers to fully engage employees at all levels in order to compete. Employees are seeking meaningful work and want to work for responsible businesses. At the same time that the search for meaningful work and the push for ethical business leadership are heating up, there is a related movement toward meaning-focused metrics. Newer broader metrics that measure individual and collective meaning and growth are gaining popularity as an alternative to narrow profitability and income measures.

Movement From Profit-Focused Metrics to Meaning Focused Metrics

Profit-Focused Measure               →               Meaning-Focused Measure

Return on Investment                                         Return on Life, Return on Culture

Gross National Product                                      Happy Planet Index

The ways that we think, act and lead when we focus on creating profits and generating income is very different from how we think, act and lead when our focus is on creating meaning for those we serve.

Related Articles

Wanted: Chief Meaning Officer by Tim Leberecht, Designmind.frogdesign.com

The Meaning Organization by Umair Haque Designmind.frogdesign.com

Free Book: The 6 New Management Imperatives by Bruce Temkin, Temkin Group

The Happy Planet Index HappyPlanetIndex.org

Questions for Business Leaders

1. How can we adapt and broaden our measurements to include more of what matters?

2. How can we engage employees in that process?

3. How will the process of adapting what we measure help us improve how we engage and serve our customers?

 

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For more, see new book 7 Lenses and the 21 Question Assessment: How Current is My Message About Ethics?

7 Lenses is a Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner in Business Ethics41cEVx-Tu4L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_
2014 Business Book Award Winner 
About 7 Lenses
 
 
Info@LeadinginContext.com  @leadingincontxt  @7Lenses

© 2011 Leading in Context LLC 

About Linda Fisher Thornton
Linda Fisher Thornton is Founder and CEO of Leading in Context, and author of the award-winning book 7 Lenses. She teaches as Adjunct Assoc. Prof. for University of Richmond SPCS. She is leading a movement to help leaders and organizations Unleash the Positive Power of Ethical Leadership.

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