Metrics that Matter: How Focusing on Leading Indicators Maximizes the Days you "Nail It!"
Some days end feeling like a bust. Yet, if you were to do an inventory at the end of the day, you’d find you actually did quite a bit. Other days end feeling like we “nailed it!” The irony here is that both days are productive. On the bust day, you just got taken off track by Quadrant i, iii, or iv activities and didn’t do what needed to be done. On the “nailed it” day, you bolted out of the gates and tackled one thing after another, feeling more jazzed with each one. That kind of focus and energy comes with intentionally pursuing and accomplishing specific non-negotiable targets that move your strategic goals forward.
Commit to Controllable Activity
We know it’s true: when we have specific milestones to which we can hold ourselves accountable – solid numbers we can shoot for – it’s easier to stay focused and motivated to move an important goal forward. The key to that sometimes elusive accountability is to make sure the activity you commit to is completely under your control.
To reverse engineer it a step further, the specific, targeted, controllable activity you commit to is derived from action plans made on Quadrant ii days. By creating clarity on specific activities that will strategically move your most important goals forward, you will magically turn more of your days into the “Nailed it!” type.
Our chances of having more Nailed It! days than Bust! days increase dramatically when we commit to specific activities over which we have 100% control.
Get the Metrics and your Driving Activities Straight
For example, you have a goal of 5 new clients. To achieve that, you’ve calculated you need 10 new referrals, which is also the measurable milestone or metric that helps you track your progress. But you don’t actually have direct control over “getting” the referrals – this is just a number you can influence, what we call a “lagging” indicator. To create and maintain momentum, you need a “leading” indicator – activity that drives the metric forward – over which you have 100% control.
In our example, one activity that increases the opportunities for client referrals is to connect in meaningful ways with your best clients more often. This will keep you top of mind as they interact with their friends and associates. In this case, your leading indicator – the activity you commit to – might look like:
“Deliver personal, relevant, valuable direct contact or service to each clonable client at least 1 time per month.”
This specific, 100% controllable activity will drive the metric that drives your goal to the finish line.
Now that’s a metric that matters.