“Maybe metrics is a beginner’s move.”
This is Julie Daniel – Managing Director of a boutique coaching and training firm in Greater London called Personal Best Limited.
“When it comes to metrics, there is a sense that people feel they should be properly measuring things…because it’s contained within the idea of the word. The really important things however, just feel right.”
This reminds me of a LinkedIn post by Sarah Poet – our favorite masculine feminine leadership consultant here at Growmotely (!) – that I saw last month. She expressed a similar sentiment, but in its negated form: “If it doesn’t feel right, it’s not right.” (And no set of numbers can change this fact.)
Back to (Greater) London. I interviewed Julie in August of this year in the hopes of picking her brain on the intersection of entrepreneurship, parenting and remote work…but the compelling thread that jumped out at me consistently throughout the course of our interview was the theme of metrics. She wondered aloud at one point midway through our call: “Are metrics a beginner’s move?”
This came up when we were discussing her (now 17-year-old) son’s learning journey – and how, generally-speaking, children learn. “As a society, we impose too many external metrics on children’s learning. I don’t think natural learning is like that. We come into this world ready to learn. If a child is healthy, happy and having fun, the child is probably learning.”
The “metrics” here, then – if that’s even the right word – would appear to be:
How do we measure these things? Well, maybe we just know if we have them or if we don’t.
Julie went on to explain, “If your metrics are in line with your values, then it is going to work. If the things that you value are not the things that you’re measuring yourself against, then you permanently feel pulled in those two different directions.”
Dr. Martha Beck – a Harvard-trained sociologist, bestselling author and life coach – writes in her book ‘The Way of Integrity: Finding the Path to Your True Self’ that our bodies relax when we say the statement, “I am meant to live in peace.” She teaches that living in integrity feels aligned and peaceful. It would seem, then, that choosing metrics that are aligned with our values is obligatory if we desire lives – and companies – that are ‘at peace’.
In business, Julie suggests holding things lightly and letting go of control and micro-management. Keeping the big picture in mind – and being clear about what you are trying to achieve – is key. Choosing the right people and trusting them goes a long way as well. And – here’s the ‘v’ word again: she recommends being “sure that you’re clear about shared values”.
Julie believes that an important ingredient in fully embracing the metrics that are most aligned with ourselves and our companies, is that we need to have the courage to buck what everyone else is doing. “You have to be able to detach yourself from other people’s evaluation of your choices and of your metrics. It doesn’t matter one bit what other people think.” (Music to my ears!) 🎶
If you’ve arrived at the point in any realm where you are ready to transcend metrics, as an alternative to measuring, Julie recommends drawing on your intuition and your principles. “It’s not just a feeling because it’s based on both thinking and feeling; it has both an intellectual / considered component and an emotional / instinctive component. When you allow those things to work together and become integrated in the way you respond to a situation, I think that’s the point at which the external metrics don’t matter as much.”
Here at Growmotely, we’re consistently revisiting our metrics, as we want to be sure that they are aligned with our values. We acknowledge that in some areas – where we are beginners – metrics can be and are helpful to help us in our quest to understand certain ‘landscapes’. In other areas – where we deem ourselves to be more advanced – we lean into, as Julie recommends, our intuition and our principles…and simply asking ourselves: Does this feel right?
We see the Future of Work as a place where we use – and play around with – different metrics when the situation calls for it, but we are wary to wed ourselves to any, lest we lose track of what’s really important…those things that are just impossible to measure.
We would love for you to join us in this exploration of metrics (both the use of them – and the transcendence of them) and in this bright Future of Work. You can do so by joining our platform, commenting (below) on this blog piece or by subscribing to Thrive – our newsletter crafted for leaders and company-builders. 💫
Written by: Vanessa Kettner (Growmotely’s Creative Writer)
Dedicated to: Julie Daniel (Managing Director of Personal Best Limited) – thank you for the thought-provoking conversation! 🙏🏼