I have been introduced to statistical process control (SPC) as a way to help understand the underlying behavior of processes. (I'm also an engineer by training, and love to get my hands on data, when possible.) Ever since, whenever I see "data" presented in the newspaper or on other articles, I am always curious as to the conclusions drawn by the writers -- and I usually end up frustrated that they've either drawn the wrong conclusion or have not provided the right data to support the conclusion presented.
Here is another take on the topic. After describing how baseball scouts use pitcher height and fastball speed as easy-but-inaccurate indicators of pitcher "quality," Management by Baseball then relates this to business using the wrong kinds of measures:
In business we see this all the time.Take sales folk. Most usually, their commissions and/or respect are measured by the most easily-measured metric: gross sales. Most sales folk working within this structure will focus on selling the most gross dollars, ignoring net margins (the actual life's blood of a for-profit organization), consideration for the customer's needs (the long-term viability of repeat business) and the strategic importance of the particular products sold (the long-term health of the company).