How do we measure Fun in Business and what's in it for the cows?
Just because it’s improved the life of cows, doesn’t mean money will improve all life at all times.
In the first article in the series: “All that matters in Business is Fun”, I explained that looking at making money as the ultimate Purpose of business is short sighted and sad and leads to regrettable outcomes in our societies (Think how McDonalds has forced many small milk bars to shut shop).
One of the reasons that money has started to be seen as the Ultimate Purpose of business is that money is such an easy thing to measure. Easy measurement is the reason for the existence of money. Money allows us to trade value without getting confused: I want to obtain your cow and you would like to buy a hat from me. Obviously the cow is worth a whole bunch of hats in an exchange, but you only want one hat, and the cow is not going to appreciate having a piece sliced off of herself equal in value to the hat, at least not while still mooing… Hence we created the concept of money to make the exchange of goods easier to manage and allow cows to lead a happier life.
Money allows itself to be measured very easily. If I look at my bank account today and notice that I have more money in the bank than I had yesterday, I must be doing alright and if I have less, than I am not doing so well.
Looking at money allows investors to simply assess whether their investment is safe. It allows Boards to simply set remuneration packages for CEO’s and CEOs to simply set salaries for employees etc. etc.
But just because something is simple doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.
Life is not simple
Life is not simple. Nor are people and nor is business. As I hope I convinced you in my first article on this topic here, there are many other factors that determine how well a business is doing and whether it is meeting it’s greater Purpose, money is just one of them.
But how can we measure the success of our business if not by measuring money? Because measuring how much fun we are making in our business seems impossible, right? There isn’t a spot on your P&L for how much Fun we’ve earned last month.
Well, it turns out it is actually much easier than you might think to measure Fun. To measure Fun, you can use a simple technique that is commonly used in psychological counselling. The technique is called relative scaling, and here’s how it works. Imagine that I asked you to think of a scale from 0 to 10 and we’ll call this scale your happiness scale. 10 On the scale means you are so happy, you are in a state of near delirium, you are feeling fantastic, you can’t get the grin off your face. You are as happy as you can ever imagine being in your life, and 0 is the opposite (whatever the opposite is for you). Now if I were to ask you, how happy you were on that scale, I am pretty sure you could give me a number, and depending on what kind of a day you’re having and whether or not you’ve had a fight with your spouse this morning and whether or not the sun is shining and many other factors you may say “6.5”
6.8 On the Happiness Scale
Now if I were to ask you exactly the same question again tomorrow, you might say “6.8” or “7.3” for example. In itself none of these numbers mean anything, except that when you say 6.8 today after saying 6.5 yesterday, it likely means that you are a little bit happier today than you were yesterday.
It turns out that this simple technique can very easily be adapted to business management as well and Fun in Business can be measured effectively this way.
Applying the technique in your business, simply revolves around asking yourself (or your team): “How much Fun has life in Business been this past week? And what do I need to do to take the number from 6.5 to 6.6 (or 6.8 or 7.2) this coming week?
Invariably in your answers, you’ll find addressing particular aspects of business that are most important right now. It may simply be that to take the Fun in Business rating from 6.5 to 6.7 this coming week you need to spend some time collecting outstanding accounts, to get more cash into the bank. Or it may be that to take the Fun in Business rating from 5.4 to 6.1 this week, you need to go all out and finish an outstanding job that’s been running over time and over budget. Or it may be that to take the Fun in Business number from 7.2 to 7.7 this coming week you need to make two cold-calls every day, starting today.
Using the “Relative Scaling” approach to managing Fun in Business is an incredibly powerful way to cut through all of the noise and hone in on the next most important thing to do.
And once you get comfortable with using this technique yourself it is very possible to apply the technique to managing your team as well.
Try it out, You’ll be surprised about the impact on your business… I promise you.