NPR aired this story on the way home today, and I had to find out more about it…I’d heard of the scandal, but didn’t realize so many people would be indicted on criminal charges.

The last statement in the article quotes a couple of folks bemoaning “…the unintended consequences of our test-crazed policies.”

While I don’t want to delve into the world of educational evaluation systems, it does bring up an excellent point: you get what you measure, whether you want it, or not.

Scott Adams had a Dilbert cartoon years ago, where the pointy-haired boss announced a bounty on defects: every problem found in the software would be turned into cash! Sounds great, right? Well, right up to the last frame, where Wally walks out of the meeting saying, “Woohoo! I’m gonna code me a minivan!”

Does your organization have any dysfunctional behavior driven by measures mandated by management?

Does your organization have any measures that are collected, but absolutely no one knows why, other than, “We’ve always reported that”?

People are smart and know how they’re graded…it’s incumbent upon leadership to understand how the questions they ask and the information they request will drive behaviors in the organization…good and bad.

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