posted Jan 10, 2020, 9:20 AM by David Alan Binder


We measure our lives with the following adjectives:

Harder, faster, better, longer, more, less, slowly, increase, decrease, quietly, loudly, fondly, hatefully, likely, unlikely, better, worse.

Consider this fact about all these adjectives.  They are not quantitative.  A team leader I had once told me to, "Do better!"

I said, "What is better?"  "How do you measure better?"  "Exactly what aspects do you want me to improve?" 

Without a qualitative description of what better is then it is so subjective, I won't ever know what better is, only that person would and only after they see it would they be able to let me know what better is.

I had a manager who asked for something to be done and to submit it to that individual in x number of days.  I said, "Give me an idea of what you'd like so that gives me a framework in order to put something together."

My manager said, "I can't.  I'll know it when I see it."

This is a setup for failure, if that individual does not even have a clue of what they want, how am I supposed to hit that target or even come close?

We sabotage ourselves and others when we ask them to do something with adjectives and not hard quantitative data.

Rather than do this faster, say "This project took you two hours, please do it in 1 1/2 hours next time."  This is an objective that someone could aim for and know when they do it or not.  Not, "Do better!"

Better can mean faster (minutes or hours faster), slower (again minutes or hours), with more pizzazz (what is pizzazz to you), with more color (how many colors), with a larger font (how large), more pages (how many), etc.

You get the picture or at least can derive what I am driving at.

If you ask people in quantitive measures rather than adjective measures you will get "better" (measureable) results.


A Think Piece by David Alan Binder

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