Measure what matters

By Chris Godsall

March 23, 2022


In our last post, we talked about how the legendary tech investor John Doer helped Google and others by teaching the wisdom of Objectives and Key Results. Basically he shined a light on how important it is to make sure that your goals are actually synching up with your results.

The Objectives and Key Results system is not designed to police employees or punish them when they fail. And it’s certainly not about yelling at someone when they don’t succeed.

More than anything, it’s about creating trust between people that set goals and people in charge of accomplishing them.

John Doer explains that a good way to think about the difference between what you want (Objectives) and what you got (Key Results) is to look at the gap between the two. That gap as goldmine of ideas, solutions and self-awareness.

It’s such a simple concept, but it’s also amazing how often this goldmine is missed.

The whole system depends on making a commitment to setting smart goals that matter.

Next, you have to make measuring your goals a priority. (Doer wrote a whole book called Measure What Matters and it’s also a very challenging task for many companies.)

Finally, you need to have some way to dig into the difference between what you wanted and what you got. That’s where the magic happens because it creates the spark of self-awareness that leads to self-improvement.

And self-improvement is where behavior change starts for these big successful companies: Why didn’t we get what we wanted? Was it achievable (don’t set goals you can’t achieve!). What’s blocking us from getting the results we’re looking for? That’s where John Doer wants you to search for solutions that you can put to work quickly. In this system, it’s really unacceptable to set goals and then to get results each month and each year that are not synching up! The system works so well that many of the most successful companies swear by it.

At iVirtual, we’re borrowing these ideas and applying them to your relationship with the digital world.

We focus a lot on improving your relationships with companies that supply you stuff and with the data collectors that control your private information under the terms and conditions that we all accept many times a day.

Seeing your online self through the lens of Objectives and Key Results can really change perspectives. Three specific things pop into view that we think are pretty amazing and potentially very important to the entire world of data collection and ethical identity management.

The first is that most people are actually very good at the hardest step in John Doer’s system: Goal-setting. This can be a tricky part of the process for big companies. But most people set goals that matter all the time, and work toward their Objectives every day of their lives. For example, most people around the world wake up every day with the goal of maintaining relationships based on honesty and trust. (How many people do you know that are truly into dishonesty as the basis of their family and friends or their community?)

Second, most people don’t have a way to Measure What Matters when it comes to our digital life. Getting ripped off or being disappointed is a feeling that can express the difference between what you wanted and what you got. But John Doer wants us to move beyond feelings. He wants us to manage that gap where people or companies are letting us down. Yelling and complaining might be normal if you’re disappointed at a big company but it doesn’t fit into the system of Objectives and Key Results. What we’re trying to do here is change behavior for the betterment of everyone involved (More later on why “yelling” really and truly doesn’t work!).

That’s why iVirtual is so big on collecting data about companies and their performance. We aren’t yelling at anyone. Instead, we’re comparing what you wanted with what you got so that you can easily ask your suppliers (mostly companies) to align their results with your goals. It’s really that simple.

Here’s the third thing we notice: when you lay out your terms and conditions for what you want, you’re creating a roadmap for how a company can match their Key Results with your Objectives. Imagine a world where companies want to know what your Objectives are and they’re rewarded for creating Key Results that sync up to the goals that matter most to you.

At iVirtual, we don’t just imagine that world, we’re set out to create it; and everyone’s invited (even John Doer and Google!). So please please sign up to our YouOwnYou Newsletter and Social Media for a chance to try out our YouOwnYou Closed Beta.

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