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Standardization? What Is THAT?

Standardized AssessmentStandardization. The rallying cry of optimization maximizers. In today’s innovation-centric environment, this might sound a little ho-hum to you. Which way are you inclined, optimization-centric or innovation-centric? Think you can’t have both? Think again! Really, this economics of exclusion has gone deep into the bones. Manifests in all areas of our lives, doesn’t it? Anyway, in case you were wondering, I am all for standardization in order to maximize optimization. I just think about it a little differently.

All humans, perhaps with a few exceptions largely due to copying mistakes at the genetic level, come with two eyes, two ears, a nose, a mouth, two hands, two feet, one liver and so forth. In that sense, all humans are standardised. However, we know that no two humans have ever been exactly alike, nor will there ever be. Even identical twins are not identical. For all their manufacturing and optimization prowess, neither are there any two Hondas, Toyotas or Hyundais alike. They might appear to be exactly the same, but we know they are not. 

Since we already know this, why then do we try to impose “standardization” on people? Why do we grade people on standardized tests and assessments, using them as the be-all-and-end-all yardstick to decide whom to reward and whom to fire? Why do we deploy people in areas where we think they’ll perform best based on a few psychometric assessments? What has happened to our higher-order senses of serving the developmental needs of our people? Which, by the way, includes chastising them and maybe even firing them! Have we not gone beyond seeing them as mere “Human Capital”? Is not each of them a person? Do they not each have stories to tell? 

At this point, please note that I am also all for innovation. It’s not an innovate-or-optimize situation, it’s an optimize-and-innovate-as-you-go mindset that we ought to develop. 

Standardization is absolutely fabulous. When it’s done right.

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