Today I note that, in New South Wales, Australia students who have completed their secondary schooling receive their academic ranking - that which will determine what universities and courses they will be able to access in 2010. There'll be a lot of very happy young people: I suspect there will be more who will be unhappy, and some who will be devastated.
Yesterday on ABC FM I heard a repeat of an interview with Sir Ken Robinson of England - an educator of some renown. In the interview he made the point that one of the problems today is that we place undue stress on IQ. He said that there were many different types of intelligence and that, very often, people have to recover from the hurt done to them in school (the emphasis on IQ with the corollary that unless you are academically good you are a failure) before they can fulfil their potential. Some people, of course, never get over this hurt. Robinson suggested that the question we should ask is not : "What is your intelligence?" but "What intelligence are you?" Vastly different questions.
In my mentoring I encounter many people who have been hurt by life events yet have managed to recover from that hurt and go on to make a difference both in their own life and in the lives of those with whom they interact. Very often it is because the people who have been key influences in their past have assessed success or failure by some unitary measure - money, academic results, fame etc.
Recently I have been involved in an on-line discussion on the subject: "Why, in a multi-dimensional world do we continue to rely on single-dimensional measures?" The general consensus seems to be that we use single-dimension measures because they tend to be quick and easy and it enables us to pigeonhole people and organisations very rapidly. The consensus also seem to be that effective leaders use multi-dimensional measures.
What measures do you use to assess success in your life and that of those with whom you interact? What measures do you use to assess the success of your organisation?
The issue may be more one of what you measure rather than the results of your measurement.
More information about Doug Long and how I may be able to help you at http://www.dglong.com