Lots of people talk about being successful, but how do they know if they are actually making progress? I was recently inspired with a conversation I had with Marc Brownstein, President and CEO of the Brownstein Group, regarding the importance of keeping daily measurements.
Brownstein, a member of YPO, is serious about the importance of measurement for his clients and often applies measurement to his personal life as well. His approach must be working because his Philadelphia PR company has grown to be an industry leader helping such blue chip companies such as Comcast, Microsoft and IKEA. Brownstein believes counting is important when creating a following be it for a company or a leader.
Many of the measurements you would use to measure the successful campaigns of a company can be applied to your own personal journey as well. Here are 5 measurements that you should check every day to see if how close you are to real success.
Time is a precious resource, and success depends on using yours wisely. Still, many ambitious people don't stay aware of how their time is spent. Brownstein recommends tracking the time you spend on work and personal tasks, especially when you move from hourly to salary-based employment. Use a phone timer or an app to log how long you spend on daily activities. "Keep tabs on how much of your time is actually being wasted and how you can better distribute it to be as productive as possible," he advises. Need additional clarity? Assign an hourly rate to your time based on the salary you would like to make. Calculate the cash value of hours spent on things that get you closer to your goals vs. the hours spent on distractions, personal business, or dead-end activities.
Many great leaders and innovators believe that failure provides the greatest learning opportunities. Brownstein acknowledges that mistakes are painful: "Making a mistake may not only cost money, but it also can waste time for others that may have to come in and resolve problems that you create." Far worse, however, is to refuse to learn from them. When a setback occurs--be it a lost client, disastrous launch, or bad Yelp reviews--take time first to pinpoint what went wrong. Then set benchmarks for fixing it. Make daily assessments: How many times did you implement a best practice? How many hours did you engage in continuing education? What is your practiced ratio of hard versus soft skills in areas needing improvement?
Can you contact the people you most want to influence? Email remains the single most powerful means of online communication, with higher conversion rates than any other form of social media. "Growing your email list is crucial to building your following, more so than any other social network out there," says Brownstein. "Keep tabs on it and find creative ways to engage people using this often overlooked tool." Invest in an e-mail management tool like FanBridge, MailChimp, or Constant Contact. Then take full advantage of the tools they offer. Check daily to see how many subscribers you have, how many of them open your e-mail communication, and whether they click on the links you provide. Does your list add a steady stream of new subscribers each week? How many unsubscribes do you get in general and after specific campaigns? If your numbers do not show ongoing growth and engagement, you are not connecting with the right crowd.
Can your community reach you and interact directly with you? Collaborators and followers value the chance to engage and share information. Equally important, do you know who they are? Brownstein warns, "There are people in every network who are there simply to expand their own numbers." But, he continues, "There are people in the network who genuinely care about what you do and want to work with you. Instead of chasing the people who don't want to be major presences in your life, examine which people contact you most often." How strong is your presence in the communication channels that your colleagues and crowd prefer--e-mail, Twitter, Instagram, networking events, etc. These numbers are not simply about count but also the quality of interaction. How many direct (not forwards or group) e-mails do you receive? How many requests for your input or participation? How many likes or comments do your posts receive? How many links, images, or other shares are sent to your profiles? Most importantly measure the quality of connections. For example, how many of your LinkedIn contacts would you actually take the time to contact yourself?
Everyone wants to be credible. It is a basic requirement for confidence and self-esteem. In social media the measurements are simple. How often do your followers share or respond to what you have said? Shares and replies are a measure of trust and respect from your followers. Even in the non-digital world you can watch to see how people react to what you say. Brownstein advises, "Pay attention to whether or not people are actually responding to your content and how. This will help you figure out what is a waste of time and what is really inspiring and influencing others." Measure how often people respond to your conversation. How often do they seek you out for opinions? How often do they continue your conversation when you disengage?
Each week Kevin explores exclusive stories inside YPO, the world's premiere peer-to-peer organization for chief executives, eligible at age 45 or younger.