You Get What You Track: What Crap

Another letter to the editor in response to the November 2008 Journal of Accountancy article, The Firm of the Future, has been published in the April 2009 issue.

This is one of the most frustrating issues that we continually have to debate—that is, the notion that timesheet are a measure of productivity. They are no such thing. They are the illusion of measurement.

I thought Victor’s reply was also compelling, being a partner in one of the firms profiled in the article.

How long is it going to take for CPA firm leaders to understand that there are better metrics for knowledge workers than the Frederick Taylor inspired timesheet?

Do they really think CPAs are the equivalent of factory workers? Do they not understand the difference between efficiency and effectiveness?

The lack of intellectual curiosity with respect to this topic is astounding, as it goes to the heart of how a firm measures and judges its success.

We believe those measurements should be based on how customers define the success of their CPA firm.

And there’s not a customer alive who does so by how many hours are logged on a timesheet.

If we get what we measure, isn’t it about time we measure what we want to become?

No one entered the professions to log the most hours on a timesheet. The leaders of firms who maintain this antiquated measuring device are doing their professions a disservice.

I understand that knowledge advances by what is known as knowledge creep, it’s a gradual, slow process. But the advocates of timesheets are stuck in the Industrial Revolution of the late 19th century, with metrics that are an idea from the day before yesterday.

Do they truly believe that no advances have been made in this field? If so, it’s sad, and it is ruining the professions.

This is probably a larger paradigm shift than hourly billing to Value Pricing, and I’d be curious as to people’s ideas on how to be more effective in getting this message out.

Comments

  1. Ron Baker says:

    Thanks Chris. Although timesheets seem to survive in both good and bad times. If anything, you’d expect firms to look for better ways during tough times, but that’s not the case. I guess the platform isn’t burning enough.

    And thanks Eric for your thoughts. I still need to see that movie, it’s on my list. I will grant your premise (reluctantly, because I don’t think it’s the explanation at all) about more data, but if we had to overcome every single exception before doing something new, we’d still be sitting in caves rubbing rocks together to make fire.

    Data and case studies don’t do it either. I’ve tried, hundreds of times. A more elaborate study won’t matter. Even people visiting the firms doing it have a high probability of not changing, thinking it’s just too damn hard.

    So don’t expect VS to do any “benchmarking” studies. We think they are crap anyway. We are interested in “next practices,” not “best practices.”

  2. Hi Eric,

    I agree with this, people have different tolerance for risks.

    This is why are futures are determined by entrepreneurs, risk-takers, early adapters, etc. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that is who VeraSage appeals to. The rest will just lag behind.

  3. Ted A. Waggoner says:

    Ron,

    One comment caught my eye as new this time, that “We believe those measurements should be based on how customers define the success of their CPA firm. And there?s not a customer alive who does so by how many hours are logged on a timesheet.”

    I agree, but is there any studies that show what customers think in about the issue? Should we get one going?

    Fear of the unknown is best resolved by turning the unknown theory into a known fact. We have done it with salary information to some extent, maybe client wants could be addressed.

  4. Ron Baker says:

    Hi Ted,

    Great question. Fortunately, this issue has been studied to death going back at least 60 years. Just as a small sample, here’s an excerpt from my book, Measure What Matters to Customers:

    Many studies have been done on why professionals lose and gain customers, and here are the results of three such studies:

    1. ?My accountant just doesn?t treat me right.? [Two- thirds of the responses].
    2. CPAs ignore clients.
    3. CPAs fail to cooperate.
    4. CPAs let partner contact lapse.
    5. CPAs do not keep clients informed.
    6. CPAs assume clients are technicians.
    7. CPAs use clients as a training ground [for new team members].
    (Aquila and Koltin, from a 1992 award-winning article in the AICPA, based on interviews with thousands of customers who had fired their CPA).

    And why people select accountants:
    ? Interpersonal skills
    ? Aggressiveness
    ? Interest in the customer
    ? Ability to explain procedures in terms the customer can understand
    ? Willingness to give advice
    ? Perceived honesty

    David Maister, in The Trusted Advisor, offers the most commonly expressed customer suggestions regarding what they want from their professional relationship:

    1. Make an impact on our business, don?t just be visible.
    2. Do more things ?on spec? (i.e., invest your time on preliminary work in new areas).
    3. Spend more time helping us think, and helping us develop strategies.
    4. Lead our thinking. Tell us what our business is going to look like five or ten years from now.
    5. Jump on any new pieces of information we have, so you can stay up-to-date on what?s going on in our business. Use our data to give us an extra level of analysis. Ask for it, don?t wait for us to give it to you.
    6. Schedule some offsite meetings together. Join us for brainstorming sessions about our business.
    7. Make an extra effort to understand how our business works: sit in on our meetings.
    8. Help us see how we compare to others, both within and outside our industry.
    9. Tell me why our competitors are doing what they?re doing.
    10. Discuss with us other things we should be doing; we welcome any and all ideas! (Maister, et. al., 2000: 180).

    Despite all this evidence, the average pkf will track the hours its team members spend working on various assignments. There are many problems with this, the first being no customer defines the success of their professional by how many hours they spend on their work.

    It also focuses the team on efforts, activities, and inputs??not to mention ways to inflate their personal charge hours??at the expense of results, output, total quality service, and value to the customer.

    Another problem with this metric is it is not a theory, and to add insult to injury, it is a lagging indicator. Perhaps this explains why the surveys mentioned above on losing and gaining customers have not materially changed in the past half-century. The right measures, and judgments, are simply not on the dashboard of most pkfs. The canaries [in the coal mine] are hacking and wheezing.

    The surveys for lawyers show mostly the same thing (I believe I showed some of these at the Atticus program).

    All of these reasons are basically service issues, not price or technical quality. And certainly not hours!

    Hope that helps.

  5. Ron Baker writes, “there are better metrics for knowledge workers than the Frederick Taylor inspired timesheet?”

    And those would be? I know of no one who deliberately has bad measurements, so enlighten everyone.

    Second, contrary to what Ron may think, there are good legal reasons for requiring workers to keep time records, without regard to how accurate they may be as a measure of productivity.

    Third, if an employee promises to work 40 hours a week, an employer is entitled to records from the employee showing that the promises has been fulfilled.

    Last, linked to the foregoing but more important is that, if an employee is efficient, they are not entitled to time off because of such. If employee A is twice as productive as employee B, the employer is still entitled to insist the employee A work a full work week, as shown by his or her time records.

    In conclusion, no one would argue that time records are the be all and end all, just as no one should argue that one shouldn’t keep time records. One should understand both their utility and shortcomings.

  6. John,

    Once again, it’s impossible to debate someone who denies reality. There are over 650+ firms, of all sizes, across all PKF sectors, that don’t utilize timesheets at all. Period. They must have found something superior.

    They use alternative Key Predictive Indicators and project management.

    I’m not arguing about timesheets for hourly employees. I’m arguing against them for knowledge workers, most of whom are on salary. It’s the timesheet in six to ten minute increments we are arguing against, not compliance with labor laws.

    Check out the Trailblazer firms on this very site to see the advantages that accrue to the firms that have gotten rid of this lagging indicator.

    Furthermore, if you believe timesheets measure productivity, you are sadly mistaken. They measure inputs, but productivity is always outputs divided by inputs. Timesheets are silent as to outputs.

    In a PKF, judgments are superior to measurements. Timesheets measure the wrong things.

  7. Mr. Baker,

    It seems to me that you have turned “value pricing” into a religious cult, especially when one reads the note of Ed Kless.

    I don’t know why my writing makes it impossible for you to debate me. It seems self-evident to me that time records have both very obvious shortcomings and very obvious benefits, especially when they come to management of one’s employees.

    I would believe that even a “pure” value pricing firm would still have employees keep time records, for such have many valuable business management purposes other than billing clients. For starters, time records can help assure that an employer gets full value, respond to charges of discrimination . . . the list really is endless.

    To the point–when the organized bar started pressing law firms to keep time records, it was not for the purpose of doing time based billing, but was instead offered solely as an internal management tool. Go read the early surveys and programs on keeping time records.

    What was not anticipated was that clients, on learning that time records were available, would demand (and because of their economic power) were able to get law firms to give up what other business would implicitly understand to be confidential business information that ought to never be disclosed. Time records are a rough record of one’s costs. With that information, clients could and did demand time based billing, so as to drive down prices toward the actual cost of providing service. If law firms had the economic power to raise their prices I am sure they would do such. Every lawyer, just like every other business person I know, is trying to charge his or her clients as much as they can.

    I intended my question about other methods of guaging productivty to be a serious one, for time records are obviously a poor indicator of productivity, and I am still waiting for a answer to that question.

  8. Matthew Tol says:

    John,

    I take your point, but, with respect, I think there is a bit of confusion here.

    Value pricing has nothing to do with lowering the price of a service. Sure, some services are commoditised (a lot of what happens in legal and accounting offices is basically a commodity) and, as such has a price attached to it – irrespective of how long it takes to perform the task at hand (and the recovery on these jobs is usually pretty good because the process is so systemised that it just works).

    On the other hand, value pricing is about spending time with your customer at the commencement of an engagement to scope out what they want you to achieve for and with them. As you peel the onion with them, they start to appreciate the value you’re bringing to their operation and the price, consequently, becomes less relevent. What matters is the outcome.

    The customer will still only pay what they believe something is worth. They’re not stupid. BUT you need to uncover the value with them for them to accurately attach a value to what you’re to do for them.

    I’ve not used timesheets for nearly two years now and it’s been fantasatic. The customers understand and love it, my people reckon it’s terrific and we never have any fee complaints that used to be justified by “rolling out the timesheet” or wip report (which is so subjective that it’s useless).

    Being in the vanguard has also enabled us to conduct a bit of a Hawthorn experiment here – the guys know we’re doing something special when compared to other firms and they are performing very well as a result of it. They wear a bit of a “badge of pride” that we’re different.

    It just works.

    But is has nothing to do with lowering price. Please diabusse yourself that this is the basis of value pricing.

  9. Ted A. Waggoner says:

    John and all, it has become an interesting debate, and good for that. I would inject one point to John’s comments earlier. Value pricing is not a one sided event. The buyer has a choice of whether it will pay the price offered by the seller, but the seller also has a decision on whether to accept the price offered by the potential buyer. You offer to pay $10K for a new Lexus does not establish either the price or value of the Lexus. If I agree to sell it to you for 10K that establishes the price for that one on that day. It does not mean I am obligated to sell the next Lexus for $10K.

    For establishing FMV, it is the point at which a willing seller and willing buyer, both with adequate knowledge agree to make the transaction.

  10. Eric Fetterolf says:

    John,

    In your mind, does effort = productivity?

    If I run a marathon in 25 hours and you run the race in 6, why do I cost more?

  11. On reading all of the replies to my questions, I am again reminded of the phrase oft-used by physicists, “not even wrong.”

    With one exception, all of the comments above are not even wrong, they are not even in the ball park when it comes to good economics, management, and psychology.

    I was replying to Ron’s claim that value pricing meant that one could give up timesheets.

    I offered the simple observation that such wasn’t true because time sheets are a necessary part of managing a law firm or other professional service firm, without regard to how one prices ones services to customers.

    My point was a line had to be drawn between management of the firm and pricing to customers, when it comes to time records.

    Said differently, my point is that one should keep time records, even if one value prices. In that regard I recalled that lawyers were first urged to keep time records for management purposes only and it was not until later that clients realized that they had the economic power to demand access to such internal cost records and that by gaining access they could control their own costs.

    This lead to a series of what I call “religious cult” comments,
    like those of Ed Kless (“In your analysis of Einstein?s time sheets do you think he spent too much time on general relativity or specific relativity?”) or Eric Fetterolf (In your mind, does effort = productivity?)

    As for Eric, he needs to recall that, as Edison remarked, “Genius is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.” In my trial work I have found the same holds. Accordingly, when I bill clients, I have to bill enough to cover both the inspiration and the work done to apply the particular insight to the case. For example, if one concludes that the omission of a piece of information from a series of documents shows or tends to show a proposition (inspiration), one still has to spend the time necessary to look through the documents so as to be able to prove the insight.

    Clients know the difference between a lead (an insight) and tracking down a lead.

    Now let us turn to Ed Kless. Ed, let’s just assume that an Einstein went to work for your firm, as knowledge worker like “Bob,” who was advertised on TV a few months ago by an HR firm as the ideal temp worker.

    Let us just assume that Einstein was the most productive knowledge worker of all time, when he worked. Ed Kless, since Einstein is productive for you only when he works, wouldn’t you want him to keep time records so that you know he is working?

    If “Bob” Einstein doesn’t work of what good is he. In simplist terms, “Bob” Einstein’s employer is entitled to 40 hours a week of productive work from “Bob” Einstein. (And some idiot above thinks I’m a Marxist?)

    Now Ed Kless we can see why clients want time records. Let’s assume that you are paying “Bob” Einstein $10.00 an hour and charging the client $1,000.00 an hour, because “Bob” Einstein is so productive. The client demands and gets your firm’s time records and now sees that you have been marking up your costs 100 times. The client demands, in the future, “bill me based on the time spent, at $20.00 an hour.” By giving clients access to time records of productive people, clients are able to drive down costs and this is what has happened in the market for legal services.

    Everyone one here proclaims they are knowledge workers of high productivity. If that is true, the way for a client to buy your services at the lowest price is to find out how much time it takes you to perform a task and pay you only for that time.

    Does anyone not understand, now, why we have time based billing. Because it is the cheapest way for clients, who have economic power, to buy productive knowledge work.

    Again, I repeat my prior challenge. If anyone knows of a cheaper way for clients to buy knowledge work, other than time based, tell us how they should do that.

  12. Matthew Tol says:

    John,

    If I may, your fundamental argument about giving up timesheets is flawed.

    I have not had a timesheet in my business for nearly two years. The business is now more productive (higher fees being earned with the same number of staff) and we’ve actually created capacity by getting rid of them. We no longer have to keep records of time spent, post them, review them, put together a bill and then argue with the client. Then wait for payment.

    If you get the culture right, the business will largely become a self managing unit. I’ve had numerous discussions/arguments with colleagues in the legal and accounting professions about this issue. They will argue up hill and down dale that you need timesheets to manage your business and keep an eye on your staff.

    I believe this is just rubbish. You do need a strong workflow management system to ensure that people are up to speed on what’s going on. It works well – “you’re going to have x job done by when?”, record that and review their output against that. We’ve moved from measuring inputs to measuring results. This is what it’s all about.

    It can be a difficult concept to get your head around (hardest question is, really, do you trust your staff) but once you have comfort with it, you’re that much more free that you wonder why you ever used that arcane timesheet model.

    Outputs. That’s what our customers want. That’s we provide. The input just happens. Measuring that is of no real use as the timesheet is an incredibly subjective tool at best.

  13. Ed, you are so misinformed you are not even hopelessly confused.

    For other readers, let me explain the extent to which you are misinformed.

    You seem to believe that time based, often called hourly billing, is something which professionals choose to do. It is not.

    As I have already demonstrated, internal time records are a very important business confidence or secret. With them, a client can ascertain how much it costs a firm to provide a service. No sane business would voluntarily give up such information. If you don’t believe me, go see how many firms from whom you buy goods or services will tell you their costs, before you agree to buy.

    Why then to do Professional Service Firms provide this information? Simple, their clients have sufficient economic power in the market to demand such. That clients demand such shows how competitive the market for professional services happens to be.

    Why has time based billing spead so far. Simple, small businesses and others who are buyers of professional services have learned, on this, to copy large firms.

    Do clients complain about time based billing. Of course–such is smart negotiation. Everyone knows that if you want $50 for a widget, its best to start out asking for $75 or a $100. Client complaints are just a sophisticated form of psychological “anchoring,” using such criticisms to trap the seller into a lower price. Rellay sophisticate clients in turn hire firms who sole function is to review time records. Talk about a powerful negotiation technique.

    Any one who doubts all this needs to read the literature on how to prepare a time based bill, which is all about attempting to present a bill that the client cannot “misuse” in the following negotiations over payment.

    We all are familiar with the client who objects to the .2 bill for a telephone call on a $78,000 dollar bill. How doubts that such is anything but negotiation 101?

    Matt, you did not read by note. Had you read my comments no where would you have found me advocating using time records to bill clients. Where did I write, that one must “keep records of time spent, post them, review them, put together a bill and then argue with the client. Then wait for payment?”

    My comments were that good time records can be a useful management tool, a useful form of internal controls.

    You say that you can manage your staff by getting “the culture right.” Perhaps that might be true for a small firm doing insignificant work. Such is not true for a large professional services firm, working for a large business client.

    My work is spent helping businesses attempt to recover from a lack of proper internal controls. Sometimes this takes the form of embezzlement. When asked why a trusted employee was able to embezzle, the answer is always that he or she was so . . . “self managing” that we “trusted our staff” and didn’t need proper internal controls.

    This example could be repeated through numerous other examples about the necessity for internal controls.

    No one says that having proper internal controls is fun. As a short term expense, it is a real drag. People are lazy and so it is appealing to hear that one doesn’t need time records or other proper internal controls.

    However, it just isn’t true. There are no shortcuts in business, especially when it comes to managing employees or staff.

  14. Eric Fetterolf says:

    John,

    Please demonstrate that the timesheets, the internal management control tool you write about, are immune from, shall we say, creative alterations by the staff filling them out.

    If they are not, then they are not an internal management tool.

    You need to look beyond inputs and begin to look at outputs. It really doesn’t matter how long I spend on a project as long as I complete it accurately and timely. If I do neither, then the timesheet will not tell me why. The timesheet contains no information on what skills I lack, or processes I need to learn. All it will tell you is I spent X hours on the project and X was too many hours.

    The fact that the project did not complete timely or accurately alreay told you that.

    AS for your inventor comment, please demonstrate how billing only the first client for the R&D;portion is ethical. Why should the first client pay more for your learning and future clients pay less?

  15. Ed Kless has apparently decided to start becoming informed. He should tackle all of Drucker.

    The quotation is generally attributed to Drucker’s 1954 book, “The Practice of Management” where Drucker advanced his concept of SMART goals, i.e., acronym stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.” Time records meet his criteria, as do many many other measures.

    For example, answering all telephone calls before the 3rd ring is a measurable way to increase client satisfaction and is a different measure than time records.

    Yet a different measure would be, how often does staff let voice mail answer their calls?

    Similarly, one can have a goal of returning all voice mail messages within so many hours or responding to email within some many hours.

    Again, my point is that keeping time records has absolutely nothing to do with billing clients on a time or hourly basis.

    If anyone has ever done a self time study, they will see the value as a management tool.

    Eric argues that, “the time sheet contains no information on what skills I lack.” To the contrary, good times records would bring them to one’s immediate attention. Let me give a simple example. Billing codes seem to me to be a poor management tool. Given the amount of time good lawyers spend writing, effective management tools might focus on time spent researching, outlining, dictating, typing, editing, etc. Their are legal writing instructors who have shown that this technique can be used to improve legal writing of students, so it ought to work with all lawyers. Hint–good writers research less and edit more.

    Eric Fetterolf proves yet again that the perfect is the enemy of the good.

    All I can say is Eric, wake up. We are dealing with humand beings here. That they may fudge on time sheets is not argument against time sheets—it is an admission that one must have internal controls, being aware of both ttheir strengths and weaknesses. There are cases where both check signors embezzle but that unhappy fact is no argument against a practice of having at least two signatures on a business check. It is an argument that you can’t be lazy, after you adopt the rule.

    It all has to do with that illusive goal of looking for balance, judgment, and wisdom.

  16. Eric Fetterolf says:

    John,

    Ah, we’re getting somewhere.

    You write “That they may fudge on time sheets is not an argument against time sheets…”. But earlier, you claim that time sheets are an absolute requirement for internal control. Indeed, your entire rant is about requiring time sheets as a manager control mechanism.

    You also argue that the, uh, creatively adjusted time sheet gives you the necessary information to tell where my lack of education or aptitude lies.

    Can’t have it both ways, John. You cannot use a tool that you know contains false information for managing. Doesn’t make any sense.

    The tool I claim, whether the project completed on time and accuractly, does not contain false information. It either did or it didn’t. Analyzing where I spent most of my hours requires an assumption: there is only ONE right way to accomplish something. Managers of industrial workers can claim there is only ONE way to accomplish something.

    Knowledge workers are a totally different animal. Process isn’t as important as results. Especially when the results, far more often than not, have never been in existance on the planet before the project started.

    You also have yet to answer my earlier questions:
    Does effort = productivity?
    Should the first client pay more for you to learn a process or product than the second, third, tenth…?

    I also have a third question: how does filling out a time sheet increase the companies revenue? Time sheet documentation often adds a 10% – 20% burden on a firm. Should I spend 4-8 hours a week filling out a sheet when I could spend that 4-8 hours solving a clients issue?

  17. Ed Kless—read the Drucker book, yourself.

    Eric Fetterolf—your latest post requires me to move you to a third category, past the Ed Kless category.

    As for having to use imperfect information to make decisions, Read Edwards Deming. He makes the clear case that management must us imperfect information. His insights offer a good counterbalance to Drucker.

    As for the rest of your comments, you are “not even wrong.” Very obviously, process matters in knowledge work. Take a simple knowledge process, the giving of tests in hospital ER. Go to an ER and have a nurse jab you 20 times looking for a vein from which to draw blood. Knowing a little bit about health care, I can assure you that such is a process problem. The nurse is not properly trained in the correct process to be followed.

    Take a more sophisticated process, such as an open heart value replacement surgery. Do you think it matters whether you are “dead” for 1 hour or 20 hours, before they put your heart back in your chest.

    As for effort equaling productivity, that depends. I believe that Deming was correct in his argument that if an organization focuses on quality, over time, quality will tend to increase and costs fall. Thus effort directed or focused at improving quality will lead to an increase in productivity, according to Deming.

    Deming, by the way, offers the best argument that I have seen against time based or hourly billing. Deming’s theory was that when organizations focus primarily on costs, costs tend to rise and quality decline.

    As I have repeatedly pointed out, hourly or time based billing is a cost focused approach to billing. If Deming is correct, one would expect that costs would rise and quality decline at professional service firms, as a result of this focus (it seems to me). Whether Deming made such an argument about professional services I cannot say. Have costs been rising and has quality been declining at professional service firms? This is very hard to say; I can see arguments on both sides. To the extent that value pricing attempts to focus on quality improvement, it may have merit, for these kinds of reasons. However, as presently presented, I do not see “value pricing” having a strong enough focus on quality improvement to be of use.

    In a market economy, a question like Should the first client pay more for you to learn a process or product than the second, third is meaningless, although I doubt you understand why. If you want the answer, read Drucker on pricing. He points out that pricing should be based on entirely different factors.

    As for whether time sheets will increase revenues, that all depends, starting will how a firm bills for its services. Also signifcant is what information is tracked, for what purposes, by whom, etc. It would seem to me, if its takes 10% of your time for you to do time sheets, that something is way out of line. somewhere.

  18. Eric Fetterolf says:

    John,

    Add up the amount of time it takes to:

    Set up a Time Sheet to track a specific project.
    Note how much time you spend on each individual task code breakdown
    How much time to review your time sheet before turning it into management.
    How much additional documentation you are required to manage to justify the time sheet entries
    How much time it takes for low level management to review the time sheets for accuracy before turning it in to upper management/billing/payroll/next level review
    How much time it takes for low level management to judge the time sheet entries for productivity
    How much time it takes upper management to judge time sheet entries for productivity

    And compare that daily/weekly/monthly/quarterly/yearly process to an After Action Review which asks at the end of the project (30 minutes max meeting)

    What was the objective of the project
    What things we did well
    Why did these things go well
    What could we have done better
    What are we going to do different

    You tell me which introduces more burden to the operational costs of a firm. And does the process that adds more burden provide more information to management, more training to the knowledge worker, and increase the chances of success on the next project.

  19. anyone interested in the benefits of time tracking might checkout RescueTime and the article in the June 2009 Inc. “The Way I Work” by Matt Mullenweg, founder of WordPress

    In addiition to having himself on RescueTime, he tracks 500 to 600 statistics oon his website

  20. Ed Kless says:

    Things I rather do than use that product:
    * Have root canal without anesthesia
    * Have my nails pulled off
    * Eat cow brains
    * Listen to Gorden Lightfoot and Barry Manilow at a dueling piano bar
    * Search all of Peter Drucker’s writings for a quote on time tracking
    * Reply to John

  21. Eric Fetterolf says:

    Ed,

    At last, epiphany!!!

    John is right, Ed. Got to hand it to him. Took me long enough to see it though?..

    He quotes ?If you can?t measure it, you can?t manage it.?

    He is not trying to measure quality. So, by his quote, he cannot manage quality. But he claims quality is not something he is interested in, only timeliness and efficiency.

    He is not interested in measuring his client?s satisfaction. So he cannot manage that either, by his own quote. But he doesn?t care if he has satisfied clients. He can claim he produced results: desired or not, right or not, effective or not; faster, therefore cheaper, then his competitor.

    He has no desire to measure effectiveness. So he cannot manage his effectiveness nor his subordinate?s effectiveness. But he isn?t interested in effectiveness, only faster, cheaper than the next firm.

    All he can measure is how long some result took. He can then look at another result, with the exact same inputs, and the exact same political, social and economic environment, and the exact same adversary and determine whether it was completed faster. If any input, environment variable or adversary is different, why then, it?s a new ball game and we would have to establish a new base line.

    He isn?t running a knowledge firm, Ed. He is running a factory. He produces nothing new or creative. He only reproduces what others create or design for him.

    If I?m his competitor, I?m laughing all the way to his clients for my sales pitch. He doesn?t measure, therefore doesn?t manage, any forward looking KPIs. Since he doesn?t measure the relationship with his clients, he doesn?t manage the relationships.

    All John measures is time spent in the past. I?ve yet to meet the person that can actually go back into the past and manage anything.

    Maybe he?s discovered something, Ed. Maybe he?s discovered a way to travel into the past to manage his firm in the past to bring better results today. If so, we should listen?..

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