Happiness according to the FT

Well, here’s a turn up for the books as they say – the good old Financial Times talking about happiness, whatever next. I suppose we shouldn’t complain that Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness measure is actually very old news, and we should be thankful that the whole concept of social well-being is being discussed by such serious and influential bodies as the FT. And it makes a change doesn’t it from the constant doom and gloom emanating from the World Economic Forum in Davos.

I do get slightly twitchy about the mention of  statistics though. Which management guru was it who said you can’t manage what you can’t measure? The problem is that people tend to become obsessed with the target and forget why it was introduced in the first place. Hence the bizarre situation in GPs surgeries up and down the land where you’re prevented from booking appointments more than 24 hours ahead/told to ring back tomorrow so that Surgery Managers can meet the target for waiting lists.  Or in schools where children unlikely to pass a GCSE are ‘advised’ not to sit it so that the school’s pass rate is maintained. If we start measuring well-being in this way in the UK, and especially if we link it to performance-related pay, guess what will happen?

Image: TFDuesing on flickr.com, reused under Creative Commons License.

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