Jan 5, 2010

Skoda Laura for reducing weight !!

In one workshop last year, I met a business man who gave a Skoda Laura car as a gift to his school going son. We got into a casual chat during a coffee break. He told that he started his business about 10 years back. He invested all his money in the business and imported items from Japan. But the first consignment, on its way, got destroyed completely after a ship wreckage near Colombo and he couldn’t get the insurance. After a few months, he started his business again with a negative net worth. He borrowed from his friends, pledged his wife’s jewels, mortgaged his house and got about Rs.17 Lakhs. In course of time, his business grew to several Crores. He wanted to make the revenue grow to Rs.100 Crores. He owns several cars including a Mercedes Benz. His life story was inspiring and shared it with all the participants of the workshop.

One of his concern was the overweight of his son. Normal persuasions didn’t work. Then he offered a Skoda Laura car to his son, if he reduces his weight within 8 months (I don’t remember the exact target set for weight reduction). The carrot worked and his son goes to school now by a new Skoda Laura.

This reminded me an experiment I did about 4 years back when my teen-age kids had the same problem of over-weight. I took a diary and started putting the weight of every family member at the end of each month. For a few months nothing happened. Then some started asking what their ideal weight is. Towards the end of the year, I could see a trend, everybody started maintaining a weight around their ideal weight. I discontinued the practice for about 6 months and at the end of this period some had overshoot their ideal weight. Now charting weight of every family member is a ritual that happens first week of every month. And we are happy that we all are within ‘control limits’.

Measurements have a powerful effect on human beings, especially if it is used as a feedback. It brings fundamental changes in attitudes without rebuke or criticism. No wonder why metrics are an integral part of any change initiative or process improvement initiative.

Do you have a personal experience to share where measurements made an impact in your life?

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