I have a quote on my website that says:
When a measure becomes an objective it stops being a good measure.
Credit: Author: Unknown
But its far worse than this, as typified in Seth's example of someone cheating on a work-out by making the measure look good but avoiding doing the real exercise required to get fit.
It's a major problem and one that I am increasingly hearing about in the educational system. Students want the grade or the exam certificate (the metric) and will lie, cheat, plagiarise and even pay people to write their dissertations for them to obtain the metric.
The measure has replaced the objective of a good education. The goal has become achieving the metric at any cost.
What is as bad, are teachers and others in the educational system who also cheat to make their targets and are thus complicit with the students in totally undermining the worth and credibility of an exam result.
Interestingly, Seth has a large part of the answer in another blog post care more.
Its not about meeting the metric. Its about caring about what you are doing.