The Marie Curie Cycle Challenge, or Why I’m part of the problem

We had some presentations from senior managers in work a couple of weeks ago. One of the points that came across very strongly was that our management has a very definite obsession with measuring things to keep score.

I have to admit that this didn’t impress me very much, as it strikes me as a slightly childish way to have to deal with the world, that nothing matters unless it can be counted in some way. The risk is that you know the cost of everything and the value of nothing.

But I have to confess that I understood on Saturday that I am, in my own way, part of the problem. There was some excitement in Team Lard when we approached another group of cyclists on the road ahead of us for the first time. And when we passed them, it seemed perfectly natural to count that we had passed 3 people. And so I started to keep score or how many people I had passed, and how many had passed me.

Now there are lots of ways to measure success on a cycle ride. The obvious one would be whether I finished it or not!! A more advanced one would be the time it took. More complex still would be a placing of where my time put me in the overall list of riders (which isn’t possible to calculate, since they didn’t collect times). But I think it’s a bit childish to make up a score based on passing people.

Anyway, however childish it may be, my score for the day was 21-2, with me passing both of the people who passed me after only a short time. A good result.

But I think it shows that when it comes down to it, I’m no better than my managers. I was not satisfied with purely measuring the outcome (I completed the cycle), or even how well I completed it (my time of 2 hours 30 minutes for the 34 miles). I was more excited by knowing that I had done it better than 19 other people.

Oh well. Maybe I have a future in senior management after all 🙁

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2 Responses to “The Marie Curie Cycle Challenge, or Why I’m part of the problem”

  1. Phil Says:

    I do seem to remember once telling you at the start of your management career “Do not under estimate the power of the dark side”

  2. Destroy All Onions! » Blog Archive » A Saturday cycle Says:

    […] went out on my bike today. Since the not-entirely-excellent Marie Curie cycle ride (here and here) a few weeks ago, I’ve been looking a bit lustfully at new road bikes. So today I […]

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