In one story, Jesus, when on his way to the temple, stops by at a fig tree and curses it because although it is full of leaves, there is no fruit. On their return, his disciples notice that the whole tree has withered. The point of the story is that a tree’s purpose is to provide fruit, not leaves. A fig tree without fruit is not worth having.
How often do we in business, make the mistake of counting the leaves but not counting the fruit?
Leaves are often easiest to see and therefore measure. This is certainly true of the fig tree where the gigantic, bright leaves dwarf the tiny fruit.
Every time we measure “the wrong thing” at work, we make the mistake of counting leaves not fruit.
Perhaps counting the number of hours our sales team put in at their desks (the visible leaves), rather than the number of deals closed (the harder to measure fruit that we actually want).
Or do we measure the number of support tickets closed not the ratings received from happy customers?
Or when training, do we count the amount of knowledge learnt over wisdom applied?
Or in marketing, do we value the volume of message impressions rather than their actual impact?
One thing is for sure, we get more of what we measure.
Have a think, what are you tracking in your organisation? Are you sure you are measuring the fruit and not the leaves?