The Numbers that Propel Your Success
“Measure what can be measured and make measurable what cannot be measured.”
Galileo Galilei, father of the scientific method
“What gets measured gets managed.”
Peter Drucker, professor of strategy, consultant and author
Galileo is best known as the 17th century astronomer who first used the telescope to explore the stars and proved that the Earth revolves around the Sun. He’s also recognized as the father of the scientific method, using systematic observation, measurement and experimentation to advance knowledge.
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Fifty years ago, the principles of scientific thought weren’t broadly applied to business. That’s why if you ask top academics in business strategy who did the most to shape the way businesses are run, the landslide winner would be Austrian-born Peter Drucker, who taught and consulted to Fortune 500 CEOs into his 90s before passing away in 2005. In his 39 books and hundreds of articles, Drucker laid the foundation for modern management thinking. Among his many insights is one that is particularly useful to anyone running a business: “What gets measured gets managed.”
Drucker’s observation was that the goals that you set and the activities and outcomes that you and your team track determine the things that actually happen in your business. That notion of monitoring progress against measurable goals applies to almost everything you do:
- Meeting with clients and prospects
- Providing feedback to team members
- Evaluating progress in the past day, week, month and quarter
Meeting with clients
How do you know that a client meeting has gone well? Is it the “thank you” that clients give you and the smiles on their faces when they leave? Is it their agreement to introduce you to a friend or family member? Or is it the enthusiastic agreement to schedule another client review in six months?
Given the importance of portfolio reviews in driving client satisfaction, you should quantify how well a meeting has gone. Here are three ways to do this:
- Debrief after each meeting
After each meeting, go to a file in your laptop labelled ”meeting assessment,” and write down a score out of 10 on how you think the meeting went. Then answer three questions: What went well in the meeting? What could have gone better? How will you improve your next client meeting?
- Track your success against going-in goals
In a previous article, Track Daily Progress to Move Your Business Forward, I described an advisor who began writing down two key goals before each client meeting – one that, if achieved, would make the client better off and the second that would advance the advisor’s agenda. After each meeting, this advisor briefly reviewed his success in achieving those goals, whether the goal was achieved entirely, in part or not at all. Even if you never look at them afterwards, writing down two or three key goals for each client conversation increases the chances of that meeting being productive. But if you create a spreadsheet to monitor your success in achieving meeting goals, the return from client meetings will improve.