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

Buy the moon...no really

Did you know you can buy the moon?

Or at least someone out there will try to sell you the moon, and yes, I mean the actual moon.  I found this website that will sell you a small spot.

Sometimes as leaders, we want to sell people the moon.  Our team or organization needs a big pick me up.  Something needs to put some wind in the sails to keep people believing.  But we have to be careful because if we offer the moon at someone else's expense the result can be a loss of trust in your leadership.  Even those selling the moon know they can't offer you the entire moon without you thinking, "The whole moon, well that's ridiculous."  However, they can sell you a believable acre.  And of course they can, it's not like you're ever going to be able to afford to see it.

When you're leading your team towards a new direction it's important that they are the key investors in turning dreams into reality.  Here are the actions of leaders in time of change:

1.  Define reality

2.  Define the need

3.  Cast a vision

4.  Empower the team to define the work needed

5.  Assign Roles

6.  Set goals on a timeline

7.  Keep the vision in front of everyone

8.  Check in often with key leaders

9.  Celebrate everything

10.  Tell great stories

Leaders don't have to sell the moon to their people, they just have to help people accomplish their own dreams.  The reality for all of us is that we can't actually offer the moon but we can help those around us be part of something bigger than themselves.