• Read Don’t worry about the metrics, a tip on how to measure success

    Motivation

    Don’t worry about the metrics, a tip on how to measure success

    Begin with the end in mind Steven Covey said it, many moon’s ago – “Begin with the end in mind.”  I’ve touted this over the years, I utilize this advice as a coach to help me ensure that client sessions are focused and relevant.  I remember this to ensure I measure success.  I often remind folks of the immortal words of the Cheshire cat in Alice and Wonderland’s, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.”  Sage words for sure! Back when I worked in internal audit, I wrote finding after finding pertaining to a lack of clear, tangible targets and organizational metrics.  It was such a common issue, at one point I just started copying and pasting the recommendation and changing the organization name.  Work smarter not harder I’ve always said! All this to say, it’s important to be focused on an outcome, a direction, a notable and tangible measure of success and to think about how to measure success on an ongoing basis.  Whether that pertains to your career, your leadership, your organization, your business, or an important goal that you have that doesn’t fit into any of these neat little categories. But it’s not enough unfortunately.  Back when I was teaching coach training, I used to tell the story of a baseball player that was intently focused on hitting the ball as hard as they could, and when the moment came, the bat connected with the ball and off it went, high into the sky.  It flew and flew and flew, high up into the cloudless sky while everyone in the stands watched on. How do you measure success? And then one of the outfielders caught the ball in their glove.  The batter was out. Here’s the question I would ask aspiring coaches – Was the batter successful or not?  Many said no, the batter was clearly out.  They would score no home run that day.  But some said yes.  And as the conversation would evolve, it inevitably came down to this trite little piece of advice that I’ve tried to disregard so many times over the years – it’s the journey that really matters, not the destination. But how can that be?  There was no score to be had, no victorious run.  Well, it all hinges on how we measure success.  The batter was all in.  The batter had played with their heart.  The batter had performed the best they could at that particular moment in time.  At some point when I started this blog, I used to think about the number of people who read it, how many conversions this was creating for the calls of action on my website, how I could convert this activity into a tangible metric to measure.  I will tell you it sucked the joy out of the enterprise faster than you can down the last dregs of your drink when the bartender yells, “Last call for happy hour!”  Not that I’ve ever done that… […]

    April 7, 2022

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    4 min read

  • Read What a jar of rocks and sand can tell you about your life

    Productivity

    What a jar of rocks and sand can tell you about your life

    The other day I was teaching a leadership course, and I shared the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j6m9WnNdpSw Rocks and Sand In it, it depicts Charlie Chaplin attempting to fill a container first with sand, and then cram a number of large rocks in at the top.  The rocks spill over as obviously there’s not enough room.  And then he tries again.  He puts the big rocks in first, and then pours the sand in.  This time, everything fits, as the sand fills up the empty cracks around the rocks. What are the big rocks in your life? There’s an obvious metaphor to our day to day lives in this short and insightful little rocks and sand video.  The rocks represent the big things in our lives.  Things like important projects, health and wellness, our career development, our family.  And it’s important to realize that the big rocks also change over time.  The sand are the small bits like emails, phone calls, administrative tasks and recurring minor deliverables. The question I asked the group, was “Where do you tend to focus first – the rocks or the sand?  I was hoping they’d be honest and they were.  Just about every of the 28 participants owned up to wanting to focus on the sand first, and push off the big rocks in their life. Why do we focus on the sand first? We do this for a number of reasons.  Firstly, the bigger things are often the more nebulous ones.  So often we don’t even know where to start.  When we don’t know where to start, it makes it easier to avoid these things.  Secondly, the sand is easier to tackle.  These are often quick emails, phone calls, reports that need to be run.  We know what to do, and so it’s just easier to drive right in.  The third reason is rooted is physiology.  We often get a small dopamine hit from crossing something off our to do list.  So we pick the path of least resistance and higher reward, at least in the short term. Tips for getting the big rocks It’s no surprise that the big things often allude us in life.  We tell folks that we’re just too busy, and never seem to be able to find enough time to do all the things we want to do.  And that makes perfect sense when the sand comes first.  A few tips I often share with clients on this front, that help to minimize the sand and put the rocks first are: Turn off the notification on your phone and laptop that dings or pops up to let you know you have more email. The notifications will hijack your attention from the important rock you’re focused on.  And good luck getting refocused. Spend time at the end of the day or at the beginning of the day, getting clear on the 2-3 big rocks you want to make a dent in. It only takes a few minutes to remind yourself […]

    February 21, 2022

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    3.4 min read