5 steps to clarifying the metrics you actually care about: Step 2

In the last episode we covered how to start setting some mile markers so you can more easily see where and how you are making progress, decoded KPIs and laid out step 1 of finding metrics that matter, and that was to set goals. Now for continuous improvement, step 2 is defining the finish line for each goal.


This step is, determine how you will know when it is “done.” I know, this seems glaringly obvious, but it is the place where most people get hung up on trying to measure outcomes – we don’t know what “done” is. Many times, the reason for this is because our goals are too broad and generic. And even when we try to be more specific, like updating the website this quarter or putting a sales process into place by the end of April, the finish line is still very fuzzy. How will we know when the website is updated or we’ve completed implementing a sales process?

Paint it done

To borrow from Brené Brown here, it can really help to “paint it done.” That is, describe what the experience is like when the item is finished. What can be done then, that can’t be done now? What is different with the organization or people? 

Ask yourself “What does done look like?

Again, this isn’t a complicated exercise, but it is critical and skipped over most of the time. For continuous improvement, ask yourself “What does done look like?” for each goal. It can be tricky to do this by yourself when you are first getting started, so I recommend doing it with a partner or in a team of 3. Each person can take a turn describing what “done” looks like and you can challenge each other to “paint it done” – adding more detail and context to the outcome of the goal.

Back to our examples, in the case of updating the website, done might be when the live website has a new design, using updated images, features recent projects and that potential clients can schedule consults. In the case of putting a sales process into place, “done” might look like there is a written document outlining the sales process and that all sales people have reviewed it and given feedback.

Continuous improvement: visualize the goal

Going through this exercise with our clients, and even internally for ourselves, visualizing the outcome of the goal and “painting it done” usually ends up revising the goal because the original goal is too big and we need to break it down into multiple goals or phases, or we get additional insights into what is actually needed from the goal and can give it more detail. If you are just starting out in this process, remember – you don’t have to do it all at once. You can look at the goals and prioritize which ones you want to start measuring first. I suggest going all the way through this process with 1 goal so that you can start collecting data and measuring or that goal. Once that is done, you can go through the steps again for additional goals.

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. Tune into the next episode for step 3 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

Leave a Comment