Saturday, April 13, 2013

Measure Intentional Activities, not Outcome

I had just left a conversation with a volunteer group about attracting more members. We were talking about a more intentional, rather than accidental process of creating a prospect list.

Minutes later, I heard an NPR broadcast about how some pro basketball teams are tracking a new "non-official" statistic, "deflections". For those of you like me to whom this is a new term, a deflection is any time a player does something defensively to change the course of the basketball. It's a not-yet-official statistic that's not a turnover, not a rebound, assist or steal. It's just an indication of defensive engagement and pressure on the offense that may or may not result in an outcome.

The commentator said, "If a pro basketball team has 35 deflections in a game, they have a 95% chance of winning that game." Pretty good odds, and easy to explain to the players what you want them to do.

I was talking with a sales pro later at lunch, and related this to him. He said, "You know, I saw a sales person one time who finally stopped focusing on his sales revenue and just focused on activities that generate sales. Suddenly he found all kinds of sales opportunities beyond the core products he was trying so hard to sell.

Sometimes it's best to measure activities people can control, especially if they're known to drive the desired outcome. Number of appointment-setting calls. Number of new prospect appointments. Number of face-to-face demonstrations.

Of course, you want to make sure the activities you're measuring actually have a known connection to the outcome (in this case, orders). And you want to have some checks and balances in place to prevent padding the numbers with non-contributory activities.

Have a look at your metrics and see if you have enough focus on success-generating activities that lead to the ultimate outcome you want. Perhaps you're not getting the results you want because your team isn't doing enough of the things that eventually produce results.

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Terry Weaver

Chief Executive Boards International
Chief Executive Boards International: Freedom for business owners & CEOs -- Less Work, More Money, More Freedom to enjoy it

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