Opinion
5 Jun 2018 03:32pm

Between the lines: Lisa Leighton

Lisa Leighton, a partner at BHP Chartered Accountants, shares her favourite books and how they’ve inspired her

https://economia.icaew.com:443/-/media/economia/images/article-images/630lisa-lieghtonbooks-min.ashx
Caption: Performance metrics impact every realm from policing and education to medicine and the military

My favourite book is… anything written by Nicci French. The Frieda Klein series has kept me gripped and I will be gutted when the final one is complete. A fantastic character who keeps me guessing.

My desert island book would be… Jo Malone: My Story. A fabulous tale of a girl with a difficult life making something of herself. A true inspiration. There is even a page infused with the fantastic Pomelo fragrance… to keep me fresh on the desert island!

I wish…. The Queen would write a book. Having watched The Crown, it has made me think about how difficult it must have been for her to take over the mantle at such an early age and under such tragic circumstances. I would love to read the real memoirs of the Queen’s life to find out which bits were real.

The last book I read was… Persons Unknown by Susie Steiner. I love a great thriller and challenge myself every time to see how early on in the book I can guess the ending. The later in the book, the better the author.

The books I learned the most from are… Start with Why and Find Your Why by Simon Sinek. Both got me thinking about why I do what I do. We used this at a partners’ meeting to arrive at the team “why”. It was extremely powerful and helped define our collective BHP “why”.

Economia reviews:

The Tyranny of Metrics
Jerry Z Muller

 “Whenever reward is tied to measured performance, metric fixation invites gaming.” Bearing in mind recent financial scandals – particularly Libor rigging – this statement rings true. But it is not just in the financial world. The distortive effects of performance metrics are felt in every realm from policing and education to medicine and the military.

Metrics of accountability are particularly attractive in cultures marked by low social trust, says Jerry Z Muller. But inevitably the figures are distorted to suit the needs of an individual or institution. And criteria for measuring performance is also limited.

This is especially true when staff remuneration is based on meeting metric targets. Not all roles are about making money for the organisation. Many workers’ contributions to their company include activities that are intangible, but no less real. Muller does a good job of explaining these dichotomies. But this is more of a page-dipper than page-turner.