The Search for Truth Business Metrics & Key Performance Indicators
In today’s ever-evolving global economy business leaders are becoming highly attuned to quickly assessing how their organizations are performing by focusing on business metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs). What motivates business leaders to esteem metrics so highly? The answer is the Truth. Metrics and KPIs are an exact reflection of the truth assuming the data is reliable. In other words, metrics and KPIs illuminate and expose the truth revealing how well a company is performing (or not performing) from multiple angles and perspectives. Metrics and KPIs “cut-to-the-chase” and eliminate human emotion, feelings and other factors which can create barriers to swiftly diagnosing the health of the business.
Truth can be a compelling, debated and a passionate topic. However, we all would likely agree that ascertaining the truth before making a decision is essential. The truth is foundational, and without it, society would fail to function, legal systems would fall, and yes, businesses would collapse.
To my point, I was recently reading an article that caught my attention:
A British court convicted two street preachers of breaking a public order ordinance. Their crime: preaching the King James Bible in a public shopping area in Bristol, England. The public prosecutor commented regarding the case as follows:
“To say to someone that Jesus is the only God is not a matter of truth. To the extent that they are saying that the only way to God is through Jesus, that cannot be a truth.”
In their ruling, the court said:
“We feel it has been provided that both defendant’s behaviour went beyond preaching the virtues of their religion.”
What’s intriguing is the prosecutor’s comments referencing the truth. Business relies upon trustworthy data to certify the accuracy of metrics and KPIs and the legal system is dependent upon sound data in demonstrating the truth. The truth is a common thread upon which business and legal systems are equally dependent. After further research and analysis there are four points of consideration:
1. The legal system has a responsibility to search for the truth as their decisions directly impact people, businesses, and society. The truth is vital to the well-being of society and its subsequent absence can and will create chaos. However, one of the more popular trends in our culture is the belief that truth is plural or multiple versions of the truth exist. For example, the following statement or variations, therefore, is quite common in our society: “what is someone else’s truth is not my truth.”
This type of thinking or reasoning is immature and is a senseless philosophy which ignores that which is evident. It is obvious we live in a world where the truth is essential to our survival. Could you imagine attending a business meeting in which each accountant presented their version of a cash flow forecast? Not a likely scenario but in the event, it did occur I can assure you the CFO would be hiring a new accounting team.
2. As we previsouly discussed metrics and KPIs are dependent upon the quality of the data. Simply stated, if the data is accurate, then the metrics and KPIs are accurate. Here is my point, what data was the public prosecutor relying upon when he concluded: “Jesus is the only God is not a matter of truth.” If the prosecutor had data that supports this conclusion, it is fair to assume he would have revealed it.
Now, in the absence of data that supports the prosecutor's conclusion, let’s defer to recorded and reliable documents. More specifically what did Jesus say?
As it relates to the truth Jesus made an astounding claim:
“For this purpose, I was born, and for this purpose, I have come into the world – to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” John 18:37
There is no misunderstanding of Jesus’s words. His claims are plainly evident, and there are three primary points. First, that truth exists, and there are no plural versions of it. Second, that what he says is the truth. Moreover, finally, those who are seeking the truth listen to what he says.
To summarize the prosecutor did not present any data supporting Jesus’s claims were inaccurate. As a result, it is well within reason to conclude that the prosecutor was making a statement of personal belief.
3. Let’s move on to the prosecutor’s next statement:
“To the extent that they are saying that the only way to God is through Jesus, that cannot be a truth.”
Notice that the prosecutor references what the defendants were saying. However, here is the bigger question: Were these the words of the defendants or are they repeating the words of Jesus? This is an important question and sheds light on the defendants’ state of mind and motivations. To answer this question, it required further investigation into recorded history to determine if Jesus addressed this topic.
Jesus did indeed speak directly to this subject matter:
“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever, believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. John 3:17-18
Again, Jesus’s words are clear, precise, and specific. First, Jesus is stating he is God’s son. Second, God offers a singular path through him (Jesus) for humanity to be rescued and avoid condemnation. Finally, failure to believe in God’s son has severe consequences.
Notwithstanding the prosecutor’s opinion, there is more than sufficient data to conclude the defendants were restating Jesus’s original proclamation. Therefore, the prosecutor is at odds with Jesus’s declaration (not the defendants) and has not provided any data to prove it is untrue.
4. Moving on from the prosecutor’s statement the court declared the following:
“We feel it has been provided that both defendants’ behaviour went beyond preaching the virtues of their religion.”
First, it is intriguing that the court used the following words “we feel.” The opening statement of the court’s decision is not definitive. More specifically, feeling and truth are two distinctly different subject matters. To have a feeling about something does not make it true or untrue. For example, in a company environment, a sales team may feel their gross profit margins are good. In spite of the sales team’s feelings, KPIs will reveal the truth and provide an accurate reflection of the gross profit margins.
Secondly, the court stated the defendants’ behavior went beyond preaching the virtues of their religion without providing data to support this supposition. More precisely the court was stating the defendants were not honest when sharing the tenants of their faith. Nonetheless, the court did not provide any data to support this ruling.
The court took a biased stance focusing on the feelings of others rather than pursuing the truth. Jesus message about who he was, what his purpose was and humanity’s only way to redemption might be offensive to some people. The court’s decision sought to protect the feelings of its citizens rather than researching the motives of the defendants’ behavior.
Truth is one of the most central elements to life. Truth is not plural, dual, or multiple and exists only in a singular form. When data is absent or missing, it does not invalidate the truth. Rather, the truth continues to stand firm. Human emotions and feelings are important but in and of themselves may or may not be a representation of the truth. Searching for the truth is a noble cause and one of the greatest pursuits of life. In fact, one of the greatest kings that ever lived understood the immeasurable value of truth:
Buy truth, and do not sell it.
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