Blame the Hawthorne Effect…

light bulb moment

Have you ever wondered why you had to get graded in school, track your sales, write down all the reps you do, etc., etc., etc? Measure, Measure, Measure, how irritating! Well, as you’ve probably come to realize, it can be a very useful tool. Measurement lets you know where you’ve been and gives you incentive to achieve your larger goals. That’s great, especially when you see a change after making New Years resolutions! But have you ever wanted to blame something for you having to view your own poor performance? I mean really, who wants to look at a measurement of, “Hey, you stink!” Don’t you want to buy stock in erasers then? Well you can blame the Hawthorne Effect. The term gets its name from a factory called the Hawthorne Works, where a series of experiments on factory workers were carried out between 1924 and 1932. (These poor workers! And you thought YOU had it bad.) There were many types of experiments conducted on the employees, but the purpose of the original ones was to study the effect of lighting on workers’ productivity. Researchers found that productivity almost always increased after a change in illumination but later returned to normal levels. This effect was observed for minute increases in illumination. Over time changes in illumination had no measurable effect probably due to regression brought on by the increased stress. Overall, the Hawthorne Effect found that when something is measured, it improves…and when something is measured and reported, it improves exponentially. So, that’s it in a nutshell. My Mom always said, “Write down your goals and dreams and you will achieve them.” Well, that’s a little bit true. Throw in some hard work, and a goal to work toward, add a Dash of Hawthorne Effect and play with the lights a bit and all your dreams will come true, or something like that. If they don’t, just claim regression brought on my increased stress and blame the Hawthorne effect.

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