The Alchemy of Regular Measurement

I bet you have a friend who owns an Apple watch, or a Garmin.

Who keeps track of how many steps he’s taken before breakfast. Or how many vertical [feet? meters?] she’s skied in her morning on the slopes.

Like me, did you think . . . what’s up with that? Is it making him healthier? Is she becoming a better skier? Is it worth the time (and money)?

Reading leadership coach Marshall Goldsmith’s book The Earned Life my first reaction was similar. 

Goldsmith convened his international clientele in weekly eight-person Zoom meetings during the first months of the COVID pandemic. At these meetings, each participant reported their self-identified score on six life-management questions that Goldsmith devised based on his highly successful CEO coaching practice.

I was puzzled reading these questions. They are broad. Aspirational. Why were high-powered executives spending their work time on them? And then adding another Zoom hour to their busy weeks? (Read the book to learn Goldsmith’s questions – I promise you’ll find it worthwhile.)

The next morning it dawned on me. I’m not Goldsmith’s target client. Unless you lead an auto company, you probably aren’t either. The questions are not important, but the practice of questioning absolutely is.

For those of us in the trenches/cubicles, here’s my slightly modified summary of Goldsmith’s process.

  1. Identify a group of people who admire one another, are similarly curious about their work or lives, and are willing to share candidly with others.
  2. Devise a compelling and motivating set of questions for the group to work with.
  3. Secure agreement from the group to consistently track their progress in addressing the questions. (Goldsmith’s exercise uses six questions and a 1 to 10 scale.)
  4. Hold regular meetings for members to share their progress with one another.
  5. Facilitate so that everyone shares appropriately at every meeting. Or have an expert facilitator.

Why is Goldsmith’s practice genius? In the words of my own genius guru Michael Quinn Patton, “what gets measured gets done.” Or to put it another way, being reportable to people you admire matters.

Seems like a simple, elegant way to build a measurement and learning habit.

#socialchange leaders: Could this work for you?

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