people signals


talent leadership change innovation


Every now and then a book keeps changing you long after you closed the cover on it. This summer I read Tim FerrissThe Four-Hour Workweek since I am up to anything that is wacky and gets a lot of links. Since then, it has continued to shift my GPS coordinates on how I approach my job and look at challenges: not the effort counts, but the output.

It seems sort of simple that output is more important than input. Somehow it slips the attention in most cases though that not all input is created equal. Some activities are huge on generating results and others are huge on effort with little connection to what you want to reach. The Pareto Principle is so common that most people ignore it, just like the picture of the kids on the fridge.

These days I am wondering why output-thinking is so rare, especially in HR. Is it that it takes the output is unclear? The first task might be to think through what would actually count. And since this is really non-trivial, people end up looking going with whatever inputs they find nice and fitting. So much HR KPIs I have seen are pure activity: number of transactions, number of calls handled, participation rates in whatever, feedback in a I-liked-it format.

Take the case of 360°-Feedback. Why are you doing it? Couldn’t the most effects be reached with simple, frank conversations? What’s the point of spending countless hours placing clicks on unclear dimensions and hundreds of dollars just to find out you need to listen more?!

Sure, HR doesn’t have the single focus of a bottom line as sales does. It is real fuzzy and complicated to find your focus. But if you don’t know your output, you will fall back to activity focus which leads to ineffectiveness and a frustrating work experience. Translate: high cost, smart people go elsewhere.

So one of the first issues for HR is to figure out what the output is. This is actually the first issue of everything that needs to be done (for example for your blog and posts, or in coaching). If you don’t your GPS will stay focused on activity and Pareto will be your worst friend.


Filed under: HR