5 steps to clarifying the metrics you actually care about: Step3

So far in clarifying the metrics you actually care about you’ve outlined your goals and clearly defined when they are done. In this episode we are covering step 3, which is making a list of leading indicators for that goal. That is, what actions are taken in pursuit of getting it “done”?


If you aren’t familiar with leading and lagging indicators, this is simply a delineation between actions we can take to achieve a goal: leading indicators, and the outcomes of those actions: lagging indicators.

What Is A Leading Indicator?

When using metrics, this is the 2nd place where organizations get hung up. Most organizations are only focused on the lagging indicators: revenue, profit, on-time delivery, or client satisfaction. It is not motivating to work towards an outcome you don’t have full control of. We instead want to use leading indicators to measure progress towards outcome goals.Let’s use a non-business example to help illustrate how this plays out. Let’s say the goal is to be more healthy this year. Groan… obviously this goal lacks a lot of specifics. I’m sure you’ve already thought of about 9 ways this can be a “SMART”-er or more “EXACT” goal. Great! If we “paint this done” it might be that you can enjoy going on hikes with friends and that your clothes fit better. Okay, now we’re getting somewhere.

What do you want to measure in pursuit of this goal?

Some leading indicators might be:

  • working out 30 minutes, 3x per weekwalking 10,000 steps a dayeating at least 4 green things everydayDrinking 64 oz of water each dayTaking 2 miles hikes 2x per week 

Leading Indicator or Lagging Indicator?

Notice I did not say anything about losing a specific amount of weight. You might wonder why, afterall, isn’t the scale one of the most common data points when it comes to measuring health? It is, but weight is a lagging indicator. I don’t know of anyone that sees results on the scale immediately after a workout. If our goal is based on the actions we can take, it is more easily measurable and real-time. Lagging indicators such as weight-loss or increased revenue are natural consequences of the right consistent actions.Now it’s your turn. Take a look at your goal and determine 1-3 leading indicators, those actions to take in pursuit of the outcome of the goal, and write them down. You’ll need those for the next episode where we’ll discuss how to start tracking and getting data for these leading indicators.

Need help or want a written guide for this? No problem, we’ve got you. Head over to fieryfx.com/5steps to download a worksheet to help you define the metrics that matter to your business and success.Ready to start tracking metrics? In the next episode we’ll cover step 4 of the 5 step process to Discover Metrics that Matter. Worried you’ll miss it? Do your future self a favor and subscribe to Leverage Your Spark on your preferred podcast platform. You can also subscribe & share at leverageyourspark.com.

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