Never praise yourself for hitting the wrong targets.

Some years ago, I was coaching a group of supervisors in improving presentation skills.

Me: Why did you highlight “four reported complaints” in this slide?

Noemi: Because we almost hit the target?

Me: What’s your target?

Noemi: three.

Me: I don’t understand.

Noemi: One of the metrics our clients use is the number of complaints from them. They give suppliers like us a target of three complaints. We missed the target this month. But we know that our competitors have five or more complaints. This is why though we missed the target, I am still happy.

Me: Are you sure that your client is happy to log three complaints every month?

Noemi: No. They will be happy if there is nothing to complain about. Some issues, for example, “reject products” will delay product delivery. We also lost thousands of dollars.

Me: So, is three the real target?

Noemi: Yes! Er, no. The target is zero.

We examined all the “targets” she included in her presentation.

She changed her slides. She realized that her team had been hitting and celebrating the achievement of wrong targets. They talk about “zero waste”. But they were trying to hit 3 not 0.

Two days after, she delivered a five-minute presentation (not 30 minutes as they usually do) with a clear and compelling call to action.


Why is this important today?

The Philippine government’s handling of Covid19 missed the target.

The DOH Secretary announced on TV that we have very few new Covid19 cases. He seemed happy with his performance.

He champions the targeted approach. Test only those who manifest symptoms. It takes days before symptoms are observed. Others do not manifest symptoms until it is too late.

Our government missed the target.

The target is zero death. Life is more than just a number. One death is too many.

Mass testing may reveal a high number of positive cases. It may not be good for politics. But doing so may save lives. It will save the lives of those who are already infected but not yet in the advanced stages. It will save the lives of those who were in contact with any of them.

The Enhanced Community Quarantine is a defensive, reactive approach. It may save lives too. Staying at home will contain the virus.

It is effective if no one in the community is infected before the declaration of a lockdown. It is effective if no one in the family is infected before they told you to stay at home. Staying at home for 45 days, with someone who is infected, will not keep you safe. You will not know if your family is safe unless you are tested. I won’t go into detail as to how this can be done. But read this later.

Mass testing is an aggressive and proactive approach. You are not waiting for its manifestation. You hunt the virus so you can treat those who are infected. You use it for your contact-tracing measures. And save the lives of families.

The target is zero death, not a low number of reported positive cases. Knowing the real figure is another effective way of combating the spread of the virus.

One death is one too many.

No one deserves to die for the sake of politics.

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