My Article for Break the Bad Habit of Overreacting to Metrics


I'd like to thank CFO Magazine (their website) for publishing my article:

Break the Bad Habit of Overreacting to Metrics

If you've read my book Measures of Success, you will recognize the advice that I give here. But, I hope this helps reach a new audience that deals with performance measures (metrics) quite a bit.

The article starts:

“CFOs, of course, play a key role in overseeing financial metrics and, increasingly, operational performance measures. They pay a great deal of much-needed attention to the question of what to measure. But an opportunity typically remains for getting better at evaluating metrics.

The methods and mindsets mentioned in this article should save time, improve focus, and thereby drive greater performance this year and beyond.”

I hope you find this helpful!

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Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


  1. Mark,

    I’m wondering if you have been reading up on “The Flow System” being promoted by Nigel Thurlow and others. I’m a little overwhelmed by all the jargon and tech-speak but it has some interesting takes…I think.

    I’m curious if you have a take on one of their key disciplines – “Weak Signal Detection”. Most of the examples I hear for Weak Signal Detection being ignored would likely fall into the category of statistically insignificant metrics. I’m curious if you have a take on this. Encouraging “Weak Signal Detection” to leadership sounds like something we would have to be very careful about given the propensity of leaders to overreact to insignificant metrics.


  2. I believe metrics are a desease in our companies whatever the size, whatever the location around the globe. Most of these metrics have as objective to tend to reassure management. However of course some are more than necessary to be able to manage correctly a situation and / or to take adequate actions as long as the metric is simple and right to the point. I used to develop and implement tens of them and correcting some mistakes. Today when an individual/lean expert has just develop an new metric / KPI, and before pining it up, I ask on prupose the first blue collar passing by and asking him if he understand clearly the metric. If the anwserto the question is yes then, the metric is validated !


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