Thursday, 23 June 2011

Lead measures matter much more than lag measures

I am always slightly amused when economic growth figures and the like are released usually followed by fanfare.

I amused because we won’t know March quarter figures until June! as an example. It's too late then!

These kind of numbers are measurements of the past, often called lag measures. They tell us where we have been, not where we are going. I for one am much more interested in where I am going than where I’ve been. The past is done, over, finished. We can’t change the past. All we can do is learn from it.

I am yet to meet an economist, a politician, or a media person who understands this.

As an 18 year old my boss came to me one day complaining my sales were down on expectations. I complained I didn’t have enough prospects. He spun on his heels and left my office only to return 5 minutes later with a phone book. Slamming it down on my desk he said “There are plenty of prospects in there!” He then went on to explain to me that all the prospects in the world matters little unless they are qualified. He further explained that qualified prospects was a lead measure meaning if I had a certain number at any given time I would almost be guaranteed the number of sales I needed. I could increase the likelihood of sales even more he told me if I kept appointments (another lead measure) with a certain number of qualified prospects every week.

My boss was right, and understanding lead measures matter more than lag measures has stood me in good stead all my life. It means I am never worried about or in fear of the future providing I am doing what I know works for me in the now.

The world right now is attached to outcomes or lag measures. The economy is an outcome. Profit is an outcome. What really matters is processes. Follow the right processes and the right outcomes are an automatic result.

We are in an economic mess in the world today because for centuries we have followed poor processes and we have kept on repeating the mistakes of our forebearers.

All the doom and gloomers do is send us (if we let them) on a self fulfilling prophecy path and we go down the same well trodden and wrong roads all over again only to end up where we have already been, except in worse shape.

When we go down the wrong road we always end up where we don’t want to be.

In your life and work are you attached to outcomes or do you follow proven processes and let the outcomes look after themselves?

What are the lead measures for your life and work that when you meet them you know that more than likely you are going to achieve your goals?


Achieving milestones matters. Milestones is another way of looking at lead measures.

What are the milestones you must achieve in your life and work that tell you, you are on track to achieve your goals?

I am on the look out for economists, politicians, and media folk I can mentor and teach them lag measures don’t matter anywhere near as much as lead measures. Will you join me? We are building a new world. We are going to places we have never been.

Time to let the old world go.

Be the difference you want to see in the world
Ian
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