He’s really built well for it: loves helping people, is nice looking, is approachable, smart, has a communications degree, been in customer service most of his life, and relates well to people.
He’s got a goal of Y number of policies a month which will lead to a certain amount of revenue.
A good question is, “how does he know what to do to produce Y number of policies?”
A better question is, “how does he know how MUCH of certain things to do to produce Y number of policies?”
Now for you in your business, it’s probably similar. Whether or not it’s revenue you’re producing, you’re producing something, whether or not it’s widgets, websites, sales, or a lower number of defects.
And there’s a certain amount of it you must produce.
How do you figure that out?
How to achieve goals
Goal Setting and Goal Achieving is one of my keystone habits, as I wrote in the article “Dave Braun’s Top 10 Success Habits“.
While I can’t give you the exact steps, I can give you a framework to help you start figuring out how to achieve goals.
What the “Y” number of policies represents for Bryan is the bottom of a sales funnel. I think that’s normally the easy thing to figure out.
But what goes in the top, and better yet, how much?
“What is measured is what is improved.”Larry Broughton
This framework is two different types of measures: “Lead” and “Lag” measures.
The book “The 4 Disciplines of Execution” discusses this in detail (affiliate link).
“Lead” and “Lag” measures
It’s important to understand “Lead” and “Lag” measures when figuring out how to achieve goals.
A Lag measure is data that tells you if you’ve achieved your results or not. For Bryan, it’s Y number of policies.
But unfortunately, that data “lags” behind the efforts that go into producing the results. While this is useful and necessary, it doesn’t tell Bryan very quickly if what he’s doing now will cause him to make that goal.
And it’s characteristic of the formula from X to Y by when. In Bryan’s case, it is “Go from 0 to 15 policies written by the end of the month”.
So a Lag measure is kind of out of your control in that you don’t know you’ll hit it until you’ve hit it!
So how do you get control? This is where a Lead measure comes in.
A Lead measure is data that tells you if you’re likely to achieve your results or not. It’s virtually always within your control, and, when setup correctly, if done as prescribed, will allow you to achieve your results. Because the more you act on the Lead measure, the more likely you’ll be to meet the Lag measure.
How to quickly figure out your Lead Measures
To figure out your Lead measures, it must be clear what the pipeline or funnel is to produce your x results.
Let’s take Bryan as an example, and we’ll work our way up the funnel, starting at the bottom.
- “Y” Policies to be written
- # of Meetings actually held with clients
- # of Appointments scheduled with clients
- # of Phone calls to clients to qualify and set appointments
- # of Phone numbers from these potential clients
- # of People to meet to get phone numbers
So the first Lead number that Bryan needs to track, which he has control over, is the number of “People to meet to get phone numbers”.
He can track the rest, and he should, because the feedback from the other measures will tell him if he needs to increase or decrease his meeting people.
It will also tell him if this is the correct main Lead measure to use.
Now there are two characteristics of a Lead measure:
- It are predictive, meaning that if the Lead measure increases or decreases, the Lag measure will be affected similarly.
- It is influenceable, meaning it can be directly influence by you or the team, irregardless of how other people behave.
So let’s look at Bryan’s Lead measure:
- Is it predictive? It certainly seems that if he meets enough people, he’ll get enough phone numbers, and that will lead to his end goal of writing a certain number of policies.
- Is it influenceable? Yes. Bryan is the one meeting people, not anyone else.
One other characteristic of these measures to be aware of: Lead measures are usually harder and/or more time consuming to track than Lag measures, and thus require more effort.
In Bryan’s case, tracking the number of people he meets isn’t that hard, but it’s time consuming. Every day he should be writing down how many people he meets. But the insurance system he’s part of will track the number of policies for him – he just has to write the policies.
Final thoughts on how to achieve goals
So here’s the action plan for you and me:
- Be clear on your Lag measure (from X to Y by when)
- Define your pipeline, meaning all the things you need to do to go from the start to the end.
- Define your Lead measures and the amount of them necessary to achieve your Lag measure.
- DO your Lead measures and be disciplined to track them.
- Evaluate whether or not your Lead measures truly affect your Lag measure.
- Wash, rinse, and repeat.