Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Measures of Success - Last Call

I've continued to have some great conversations wrestling with this idea of success and how to measure it. I don't have it all worked out but here are some final thoughts on processing success.

1. Define Success - Andy Stanley calls it "defining the win". You have to define the win for yourself and for those around you. This is important because if it's too general the goals will be too easy to interpret differently. "Have a lot of people show up to my film screening" is different than "Have 300 in attendance at a film screening on July 22 ."

2. Make a plan - I think this is a step that is often left out. It's great to say have 300 people in attendance at the film screening. Great. Now what are the tactical, strategic steps you have to take to get 300 people in the seats? You might not know 3oo people so you have to figure out how to connect with them. Maybe that means a website, some kind of invitation, going on the radio. Without some kind of specific plan and some idea of what needs to happen it will be like driving a bumper car blindfolded and expecting to hit a target on the other side of the arena.

What this will end up doing is letting you know that your original goal is too big or too small. It will also give you a path to follow in order to achieve success.

3. Check in regularly - This is setting up small goals and deadlines along the way. And this is critical... use the information to make course corrections. If everything is on track everyone is happy. But maybe you find an opportunity to make even better use of your resources or come up with another idea to achieve the win. If the smaller goals aren't being met the tendency will be to start stressing out, maybe pointing fingers, maybe giving up.

Use the information to make course corrections and make tough decisions. Don't use the information to beat yourself or others. It's just not productive. And this is difficult for creative people because it so easy to think more highly of ourselves than we should when we're on a creative high but more often it's easy to think very little of ourselves or those around us.

It's just information. They are facts. Use them.

4. Celebrate the win or learn from the loss - This connects with the previous point. If you knock the ball out of the park, celebrate! If you were expecting 300 and 25 people showed you have to realize the event was a failure not you. The planning was a failure not you. Learn from the pain and move on.

There is a lot more about success and how to measure it but I'm still processing all of it. In some areas I'm better than others. I tend to do better in work environments and not as well in the family environment.

What about you? How do you process this? Are you better in some areas than others?

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