Are you measuring the wrong things?

I have measured the wrong things plenty of times.

A wise leader was sharing with me recently the dangerous habit of measuring everything by external factors. Measuring external factors is dangerous because we were never in control of the result in the first place. Let's say you have an event coming up; should you set the goal to have 200 people show up? That goal should only be set if you can go pick up every single person, guarantee that they will come without a fight, and deliver them personally to the event. However, as long as each person has the option to opt out of attending, you're not in control of reaching that goal, because it depends on all 200 people taking the same personal action and showing up. It's kind of silly if you think about it but as leaders we do it all the time!

So what is measurable? The answer to the question is you! Ask yourself, "What can I measure that I can control?" You can control that invitations get out 6 weeks in advance. You can control that the information of when, where, and what to bring is clear. You can control that follow up phone calls, tweets, or Facebook status reminders go out frequently. You can control that the location of the event is clearly marked. See, these are things to measure within your control, this is setting realistic goals.

Another wise person in my life used to say, "Don't measure the results, measure the disciplines, the results will come if we do the disciplines." You know you are living under the weight of measuring the wrong things when you feel the constant need to control people. Your hope is in them and their compliance instead of understanding what you can truly control...yourself.

What helps you set goals you can control instead of trying to control external factors?

Photo Credit to Marshall Astor