Volume 71: Achieving Goals Through Metrics

This New Year, I want to talk about using metrics to achieve, and judge, progress towards goals.

Very simply, you can’t manage what you don’t measure, and as I’ve shared before, an idiot with a plan will often beat a genius without a plan.

Measuring What You Want to Manage:
This is an area that my own company has had to grow and evolve this year. It was pointed out by a consultant I work with that the stats we were keeping (and there were many) largely did not directly predict our progress towards reaching monthly and yearly goals. So, we adapted.

We changed the things we record on a week-to-week basis to ensure that the numbers we look at are going to directly reflect the success we are trying to achieve, and that they are numbers we can control.

I can’t control market conditions, or whether our clients will ultimately choose to heed my advice on a candidate, but I can own and ensure my successes and failures despite this. If I make enough of the right connections on a day-to-day basis, and build enough strong relationships, I cannot help but be successful long-term.

And this is the benefit of metrics. Every member of my team knows what is required of them to be successful, and the success of the company as a whole can be measured and tracked. On a week-to-week basis, I can see if we are on pace to reach our monthly, quarterly, and yearly goals by looking at the metrics.

And all of your professional and personal goals can (and should) be the same way.

If your personal goal is to get healthier, a common goal this time of year, there are several key metrics you can track. How many calories did you take in? Did you get enough fiber, protein, and/or the various vitamins our bodies need? Did you exercise? If so, what kind of exercises? How often?

Many people focus on just the number on the scale, but that number is not always a direct identifier of a healthy person. It’s a useful number to know, but a person going from a little overweight to muscular might gain weight and be healthier!

Putting a plan in place and keeping the right metrics makes following through on any goal infinitely easier. If you aren’t feeling healthier, you can simply go back and see where you didn’t do enough. Maybe you only went to the gym two times per week, and it needs to be more. Maybe you went over your 2,000 calorie goal every day. Maybe you’re not getting enough fiber. Regardless, if you’re measuring these factors, you can find the weak link, and amend it to do better.

Now, I’m not foolish enough to think that I’m re-inventing the wheel here. Your facilities already track more things than I could possibly list. Find the ones that directly impact the goals you are trying to achieve and monitor them. If you’re falling short, you’ll know where the problem is and how to fix it. If you’re achieving, you will know what you’re doing well in the future to replicate the success.

Breaking Out of Old Habits:
But, I also know a lot of the guys (and gals) that are reading this are like me, and still fall into the category of “old school.” You know how things are supposed to run; you’ve been doing it 100 years! Fancy metrics aren’t going to help you run your facility better!

And, as I learned, maybe you can run your company with less headache if you’re not using metrics, but this mindset makes any positive change unpredictable and unsustainable. Whereas a metrics driven approach, properly applied, can give you the certainty of outcome we all look for.

So, find and use THE RIGHT metrics that directly impact the goal you’re trying to achieve. Keep track of them on a week-to-week, or even day-to-day, basis. It will tell you where you need to make adjustments, and where you’re doing things right.

Happy New Year, and Stay Strong.

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