It’s easy to set our sights on the outcomes we desire, but how do we reach those goals? What propels us from where we are to where we want to be? The answer is in our ability to be clear on and to dominate our given lead measure.
What’s a lead measure? It is the highest leverage activity that, if done consistently and done well, will lead to the given outcome, or lag measure, that we’re aiming for.
Let’s say you desire to be a New York Times bestselling author. What would you guess is your #1 lead measure? The activity or practice, that, if you do it well and do it consistently, will yield the result you’re aiming for. In this case the answer is simple: writing. Though there’s a lot more to becoming a writer than just writing, writing will be the primary activity and driver towards the goal of becoming a bestselling author.
That’s an easy example. It can be harder to consider this question for ourselves. What is my goal? And given that goal, what is the #1 lead measure? And, am I pursuing this lead measure with a ferocity that matches the desire of me reaching my goal?
Though I used an example of becoming a bestselling author, the goal need not be grandiose. Maybe you desire to connect deeply with your family during the holidays, so you ask yourself: what can I do that's fully in my control, that gives me the best opportunity of reaching my goal? I would answer that leaving my phone in the car or in a different room is the #1 lead measure that offers me the best opportunity to reach my goal. The question you ask and the answer you come up with will be different.
I’m writing this article because I recently lost sight of my lead measures. When that happens, my goals become cloudy and I feel uncertain. With a focus back on my lead measures, I’m clear of my next actions and know that I’m giving myself the best opportunity to reach the goals I care to.
Ultimately we’re not in full control of any outcome. We can only play our part as well as possible to give ourselves the best opportunity to reach our goals. The best way to play our part well is to dominate what’s in our control: the lead measure. When selected carefully, and practiced consistently, we’ll be on our way to the outcome we desire.