Today’s smartphones provide a wealth of data to the owner: heart rate, number of steps, sleeping habits, screen time, etc. They are sophisticated monitoring machines yet fail to alert the owner when something as simple as voicemail has reached capacity. This week alone I learned from another that my voicemail box was full and experienced the same frustration when I was unable to leave a message on my sister’s phone. Why can’t the phone tell us that?

The same principle applies to cars – vehicles monitor gas mileage, tire pressure, average speed and a host of other measurements but don’t tell the driver when a headlight or taillight is burned out. There should be a notification system for something that you can’t see on your own yet is important for visibility and safety. Instead of the annoying “advances” in lane mitigation systems, I wish they would have added a “bulb-replacement-needed” indicator instead.

In the race to add more bells and whistles sometimes the fundamentals are overlooked. Don’t make the same mistake in your organization. Before you monitor something, make sure it’s what matters to the user.

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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