You Can't Improve What You Don't Measure
The principles that make us successful in our personal lives can also be applied to business.
Like so many people, I will set my New Year’s resolutions every year. January 1 off I go to buy a gym pass, hire a personal trainer, and most importantly purchase many stylish new outfits for the gym (I remember reading once that if you don’t look good going to the gym, you’re less likely to go). Every year I had the same unsuccessful results. I would usually stop visiting the gym around January 15. Although, I didn’t actually get around to cancelling my membership until June making my cost per gym visit astronomical. And I usually would end up wearing my pretty gym clothes watching TV.
Something in this lack of fitness success reminded me of an Einstein quote “Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. In January 2015 I tried something different.
A Breakthrough: What Got Measured Got Done.
I bought a FitBit Charge HR. This little gadget was incredible. It had all kinds of fitness
Key Performance Indicators such as daily steps, active minutes, resting heart rate, miles walked, stairs climbed. It even monitored the amount and quality of my sleep. Something else happened when I first got my Fitbit, something really important. It had me set my goals. All those years of setting resolutions, and I never thought to write them down? Seriously, a goal isn’t a goal unless it’s written down. Secondly, when I synched my Fitbit to my iPhone application, I had a dashboard which measured my progress to my goals. This continuous monitoring of my fitness goals let me know when I was slacking. And having to look at that dashboard and seeing the red dots indicating a failure to achieve a daily goal was simply not acceptable. If I didn’t have my steps by bed time, I was walking laps around the house. Whatever it took to see that red dot of failure change to the green of success. Third, I would track my progress against my friends with FitBits which allowed me to personally benchmarkmyself against them – and if you are even remotely competitive, this can be an incredible motivator.
And do you know what has happened? I stuck to my fitness goals and my level of fitness noticeably and significantly improved. I couldn’t improve until I started to measure. Brilliant.
You Simply Can’t Improve What You Don’t Measure.
This concept sounds incredibly simple. But it took me years, I hate to say maybe even decades, to figure out how to achieve personal success without measuring
Imagine this concept applied to business.
Goal setting, implementation and measurement of KPI’s, and benchmarking can and do have wildly successful results for business owners.
The relationship between a business owner and a business coach is not unlike that between an athlete and a sports coach. Among many other things, coaches address goal setting, KPI’s and benchmarking with their clients. The coach is to business success like the Fitbit was to my fitness success - keeping the business owner focused on achieving goals and accountable for their own success.