3% of people have measurable, written goals for their life. Also, 3% of the population owns 90% of the resources in the world.
– Jack Canfield
It is in our nature as humans to reach for something and to go for something better than where we are at now. It is how we became the dominant species on the planet and according to a study by Cameron Anderson of the University of California, Berkeley and John Angus D. Hildreth of Cornell University, we actually strive for superiority.
This nature makes scorekeeping very important, as it gives us the push to grow that extra inch, sell that extra box of Girl Scout Cookies, or do that extra lap. The act of keeping score encourages you to eat right, ask one more friend, and work harder each run. Scorekeeping is not a way to point out failures and cover your butt. Instead, it is meant to stimulate us to have more wins and get closer to success each time.
Keeping score and tracking leads
How do we keep score for success? The trap with keeping score or managing what you measure is you have to be sure what you are measuring is actually getting the results you want, and that you don’t fall prey to using the metrics to make all of your decisions. Those metrics are only to celebrate your wins and push you forward. Your creativity, collaboration, and gut instinct should be your decision driver. The metrics just help reinforce it.
The most common way we get sucked into this trap is by chasing what are called vanity metrics. Things like “likes” on your Facebook page, the number of new customers a day, or — one of my favorites — the cost per new lead generated. If I’m tracking that metric and using it as my decision-maker, I’m going to find the lead source that nets me the highest number of leads for the lowest cost. Now I have thousands of leads to follow up with, but there is a good chance that none of those leads really wants what you have to provide.
I suggest tracking the number of leads you get from word-of-mouth. Then, your focus becomes on the customer and you work to increase and encourage to gain more qualified referrals. This forces you to provide people with a clear definition of what you offer so others can easily describe it to their circle of influence. Now every time someone recommends your company, you can ring the bell and be proud, not just be staring at a mountain of leads you have no idea how to tackle.
Finally, as a reminder of this principle, it is extremely important to only use your scorecard as a measurement of success, not as a sign of failure or a sole driver of your decisions. Here’s why: If your scorecard goal is to make $100,000 and you only make $99,000, is that bad? Heck no! You have succeeded at making more than you would have if you made up to $98,999.
The story in my life that truly illustrates this point was a time I was playing blackjack in Las Vegas. I was single, at a great place financially, and had some free time to myself after a convention before I flew home the next day. I decided I was going to try my hand at blackjack and sat down with excitement and a little nervousness. My goal was set to win $1,000. I played for a few hours after dinner and was having a blast interacting with people, the dealer, and the stimulation of the continuous math and memorization game in front of me.
After a few hours, luck was on my side and I was up almost to $950. It was getting later, I had an early flight, and the dealer changed. We all know what I should have done, but I just had to get to that $1,000 mark so I could brag to my friends. I later left directly from the table to the airport with no sleep and with a $2,000 deficit in my bank account. I even had a thought about missing my flight as my pride was taking over due to a lack of sleep. Thankfully, they closed the table for the morning and, instead of moving to the next open table, I gathered myself up and headed home.
Moral of the story: celebrate what you do win and keep moving forward. My gut told me it was time to cash in my chips; I just didn’t listen.