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Input and Output Measures.


The difference between input and output measures is often a source of confusion when discussing performance measures. This illustration may help to explain this difference.

The Arch Metropolitan Theodrakis Christodoulou was for many years the much loved pastor of his flock in his sprawling See in rural Greece. His family were of simple farming stock and the young Theodrakis was a keen student at the humble village school, walking bare foot 3 miles there and back in weather fine and foul and never missing a lesson. His application commended him to the village schoolmaster who took the young boy under his wing and lent him books his family couldn’t afford. These, the young Theodrakis devoured as if they were manna from heaven and when he graduated he had no doubt that his vocation was to serve God. He entered the theological seminary in Thessalonica where he excelled in his studies but moreover impressed all who met him with his piety and sense of purpose.

It was the proudest day for his mother and father when the son they had reared was ordained as an Orthodox Priest and nobody was surprised with his scholarship, piety and humility meant that many years later he was raised to the Episcopacy and later still conferred with the honoured title of Arch Metropolitan. As their Arch Bishop the poor and devout people of the diocese loved him for his holiness and charitable works and respected that he never spent money on himself, refusing to renovate the ramshackle Archbishop’s Palace or have an official car to travel across his far flung flock. Some said he had the loveliest smile, others testified to his saintly aura and some credited his laying on of hands with curing their ailments. After a long life of good works, God took pity on his ancient frame and called The Arch Metropolitan Christodoulou to him, causing great sadness among the faithful.

Soon he found himself making the journey for which he prepared all his life to meet St. Peter (Agios Petros) at the Pearly Gates. Old St. Peter greeted him warmly, despite the long queues, (demand management was difficult in Heaven, it was either a feast or a famine), he checked his clip board and addressed the Arch Metropolitan Christodoulou thus: “Welcome to heaven, your beatitude, we have allocated you a bronze seat, second class, in the upper tier of Heaven. It is a bit far back but you will have a clear view of the Heavenly Throne if you use the binoculars which you’ll find in the seat pocket in front of you.”

Christodoulou replied “by His Grace I am His humble servant, to be in His celestial presence is the greatest reward I who are not worthy can dream of!” and with that he shuffled off up the long flight of steps to his bronze seat, second class, upper tier.

As he stopped to catch his breath he noticed Costas the Coach Driver, who had died the same day when his liver packed in after a life of self serving drunkenness and debauchery, had rolled up to the Pearly Gates. Christodoulou allowed himself a wry smile for despite his piety he was human after all. He was really surprised that Costas had made it to heaven in the first place but was happy for him as he believed in personal redemption. However he knew Costas was due for a rough reception from St. Peter having spent a selfish life grubbing shamelessly for tourist tips on his coach tours, taking them to be fleeced at tourist traps where he got a rake off and behaving scandalously, particularly with those English girls who had a certain reputation.

Imagine his surprise as he heard St. Peter say to Costas the Coach Driver “OK Costas, I think you should be happy, you have been allocated a Gold seat, second class, front tier so you will be right in the centre of all that good God action!”

The Arch Metropolitan Christodoulou was stunned and then his astonishment turned to righteous anger as he thought of the honour conferred on Costas who had led such an unworthy life compared to his. Defying the habits of a lifetime he found himself striding towards St. Peter to let him know what he thought of this travesty!

“Good Saint Peter, I was happy with my lot in heaven until I saw the honour you have conferred on someone as unworthy as Costas the Coach Driver! “

St. Peter looked around sternly at the agitated Archbishop and his demeanour changed as he spoke in a strange tongue called Management Speak.

“Bish, get a grip I’m only following orders, we have a new performance regime for Heaven the reassuringly expensive Celestial Consultants have put in based on Output Measures.”

His Beatitude looked abashed at the change in tone and the strange tongue but eventually found his composure to splutter:

“I am a simple servant of God; I have no idea what you are saying to me!”

St. Peter tried to be patient as he explained.

“Look Bish, under the old fashioned system of input measures with your good life and works you would have come out on top but with these new output measures it’s all down to the bottom line and that is where Costas the Coach Driver comes out on top.”

The Bishop blinked and said lamely “I still don’t understand!”

“Bish, you need to change your ideas, as I said we are only interested in the bottom line for Heaven Inc. The Bottom line based on outputs is despite your good works you only got people to pray on Sundays. Costas the Coach Driver on the other hand had coach loads of tourist screaming with fear as he went too fast around mountain bends and forced them to pray seven days a week!”

The Arch Metropolitan Theodrakis Christodoulou realised that he didn’t count in the new output based performance regime installed by Celestial Consultants and, making as little noise as he could, quietly shuffled off to his bronze seat, second class, in the upper tier of Heaven.
David Caldwell

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