The Journey series
To wrap up this series on new metrics, we will examine goodness. Not just good we define for ourselves, what we prefer, but good that is always, everywhere, and for everyone good. For there to be such a truth, there must be something greater than us against which to measure it. There must be a standard. Something is good when it resembles that standard. The more closely it resembles the standard, the better it is and the less it resembles the standard the worse it is.
The ideal table, for example, should be sturdy and stable. One that collapses under its load or wobbles about is not a good table. Other attributes of a table may be better or worse under various uses. A 40 by 100 inch table is very good for seating ten people in a dining room, but very bad for fitting in a 60 by 90 inch kitchen nook. A folding plastic table may be better for a multi-use hall but richly finished wooden tables are better for executive board rooms. We might say, then, that sturdiness and stability suit all tables’ nature and other attributes suit each table’s purpose.
It is also true that even very good tables must be of service and complemented by other items in its environment. A dining table with chairs, dinnerware, cutlery and food is better than one upturned in the middle of a busy freeway. Most people would also agree that a factory table covered in sewing machines and cloth in a garment factory is better than one covered in cocaine, scales and plastic bags.
The table has no say in its goodness. It is designed, crafted and put to use by people. The designer can’t assign the table its nature; he only determines size, shape and material in accordance with the intended purpose. Neither can he determine the nature of the material; he must select materials that have the appropriate nature. Those crafting the table are restricted by the design and, again, by the nature of table and materials. Those using the table are restricted by the design, the skill of the crafter and, of course, the nature of table and materials.
How, then do we apply this to Business? It is the nature of business to apply labour and equipment to transform or transport resources to satisfy a desire.
Peter T Elliott