“What gets measured gets done.” ~ Jack Daly
Believe it or not, we’re only a month and a few days away from the year being half over. How are your goals for the year working out? Are you on target? What adjustments do you need to make? June is when I like to re-evaluate my goals for the year and see how I’m doing in my mid-year report to myself. I discovered long ago that a goal without specific measurements (The M in SMART goals) is not really a goal at all, it is simply a wish – something you are hoping for. Without a system of measurement in place, you have no idea if have or ever will reach your goal because you don’t know exactly what your goal is.
For example, many people make the mistake of setting a goal of, “I want to lose weight.” While that is a noble endeavor, how will you know when you have been successful? Without specifics, (the S component of SMART goals), you will never know. The quote above by Jack Daly is spot on. If we want to know a thing is going to get done, we have to measure it. We have to have set metrics to know how we are doing along the way and what the ultimate goal is, specifically.
I was very ambitious with one of my personal goals this year – losing weight. In 2008 I had neck surgery that caused a lot of nerve damage. What was supposed to be a 2-hour surgery took six hours and resulted in a bad case of surgical neuropathy in my right foot. Last summer, my neurosurgeon gave me a new prescription he wanted me to try for the neuropathy pain. I took the drug for 90 days and it did little or nothing to ease the neuropathy, but in those 90 days I gained 45 pounds! So one of my goals this year was to lose fifty six pounds, getting me back to a weight of 250, where I was when I had the surgery in 2008. To do this, I put the metrics in place to see if I was on target. I knew the first 30 pounds would come off much easier than the last 26, so the first six months were more aggressive. I’ve been on target so far and this morning weighed in at 274, a loss so far of 32 pounds so I’m actually just a bit ahead of schedule. However, without those metrics in place, how would I know?
I told you all of that to make the point of Mr. Daly’s quote – that is if you want to be successful, you have to be able to measure that success. This applies to anything, not just losing weight. If you want to increase revenue, you can’t get by with just saying, “I want to make more money”. How much more? What is your time frame? What plan will you follow to get there? Most importantly, how will you measure your success? Without answering these questions and many others, you’re just making a wish that has little chance of success.
Maybe you want to lower your expenses. For most people, because of the society we have created, that means you want to start by paying off debt, so you need a plan. I recommend the Dave Ramsey approach – attach your smallest debt first, pay it off, then apply that money to your next smallest, etc. It’s a simply approach and you now have a plan. Maybe your smallest debt is the $300 you owe on your XYZ account. You make a plan to have it paid off in two months, then apply that $150 per month to your ABC credit card that has a debt of $800. Now of course there are caveats to this plan. If your $800 debt has a much higher interest rate, attack it first, but my purpose here is not to get into a financial planning session, just to make a point about having a measurable system in place.
Of course, what applies to our personal lives applies to our work lives as well. Maybe you’ve neglected collections and your Accounts Receivables are higher than they should be. Make a plan and stick to it. Chart out how many collections calls you need to make each day as well as how much success you expect from those calls and keep track of it so you know if you are hitting your target or not. If not, you need to change tactics! That’s the whole point of keeping track of things – so you will know whether or not what you are doing is working. If it’s not, try something else!
The year is almost half over. Review your goals for the year and if need be, but a new system of measurement in place to help you reach those goals.