A high-tech organisation had a repair shop. The performance of the people who worked there was measured by the volume of completed work. What did they do? They repaired the easy things first – anything to achieve good measures.

The repaired equipment was shipped to branches where management performance was measured by profit. As equipment on the shelves represented a cost to them, they would scrap all the repaired items they could see no need for. The cost of unnecessary repairs was extraordinary.

But the measurement system stopped anybody looking at it this way. Attention to the system would have ensured that only those items needed for customers were repaired and changes to measures would have ensured less waste.