Measure Twice, Nail It Every Time

By Rick Nelson

Have you heard the adage, “Measure Twice, Cut Once”?

The idea of measuring more applies to your GOALS as well.  Here’s a measured approach to nailing it this year!

The greatest companies in the world MEASURE. They measure everything: how much, how many, how long, how good. And whether you’re the CEO or an individual contributor, if you’re in the organization, you can trust that they’re measuring you too. These measurements might take the form of quotas, minimum accepted requirements (MAR) for your task, revenue or gross margin delivered, etc. Or, they could be key performance indicators (KPIs) that track your progress against your objectives.

So, since you’re being measured by your company, shouldn’t you measure yourself?

I recently sat in a planning meeting, listening to each person in the room share and describe what they’ll deliver in 2020. An account manager proudly announced she was going to deliver $1.2 million in revenue. A customer service associate said he was going to hit 94% retention. So to see an entire group take ownership of their individual contribution was impressive. They were excited to crush their goals!

But then a funny thing happened. I asked the customer service associate the following question: What do you have to do to accomplish your goal?”

He looked at me, puzzled, and asked, “What do you mean?”

Now I looked at him, equally puzzled. “I mean, what tasks, in what quantity, do you have to accomplish each day to achieve your desired outcome?”

He had no idea.

As I went around the room, not a single person knew what they needed to do on a daily basis to achieve their long-term goal. Of course they knew what their job was and how to do it—but they weren’t measuring themselves against any production standards. The organization would surely measure them against their commitments, but each person had no way of knowing day to day, week to week, if they were doing the right activity at the right volume to be successful. That’s a recipe for disappointment and failure.

Establishing individual production goals allows you to identify the type and volume of work that needs to be done. Here’s a brief example: If you are a seller and you determine you need to talk to 10 customers to get a single order, then you need to determine how many calls, emails, and outreaches it takes to talk to 10 customers. Let’s say it takes 40 calls to make 10 contacts, which yields one order. Simply put: 40:10:1 = $$. If you need to sell five orders a week to meet your goal, you’ll need to make 40 calls a day. Can you make 40 calls a day? Good calls?

That’s the first thing you need to measure for yourself: Are you doing the right amount of work to achieve your bigger commitment? Once you’ve established that baseline, it also becomes a benchmark for how you can improve your efficiency and overall effectiveness. From the example above, measuring your results gives you the opportunity to reflect on which calls were successful. What patterns did you see in your successes? What did you do differently that swayed those customers, as opposed to the other nine people you called?

How can you leverage that information to optimize your process and create new, bigger goals? When you leverage your measured results, you can set new goals. Work toward getting 20 calls to result in the same 10 contacts, and 10 contacts to drive two orders instead of one —because 20:10:2 = MORE $$$$!

It’s a great feeling to know we’re doing a good job. Having daily production standards for yourself allows you to give yourself a pat on the back without waiting for your performance review or a deal to close. It also sends a message to your leaders that you understand your business and are accountable to your own success.

That team recently sent me their updated personal production targets. My confidence in their success is cemented – they’ll crush it this year!

So what should you be measuring? Answer these three questions, and you’ll be on your way to nailing your goals!

  1. What are the right tasks to hit your goal?
  2. Are you doing the right amount of work to achieve your bigger commitment?
  3. How can you use your measured results to optimize your process and create new, bigger goals?

Read my last post here: As Groundhog Day approaches, I have the feeling I’ve been here before….stuck in the loop of getting ready to get ready. Find out how to break the cycle!