Are You Focusing on the Activity or the Result?

In a meeting with a CEO last week, we were discussing some of the challenges he was noticing around his people achieving targets.  He was frustrated that the results were not where they should be given all the opportunity that they have had this year.  The question I asked him was “what activity targets do you have them focusing on?”    

If we want to get our people to achieve results we need to get them focused on the activity that they need to take.  When we don’t, many of them fail.  It;s similar to someone who has decided to lose weight.  They step on the scales and decide to lose 10 kilos.  Then they talk about all of the things that they are going to do (like exercise, eat healthier and reduce their alcohol consumption).  They may do a few of these activities and then ‘get busy’ at work.  After a couple weeks they step on the scale and they notice they are at the same weight.  The problem is that they are focusing on the result, not the activity.  

What they should be doing is identifying the specific activity that they are going to take and how often they will do it.  This could be something as simple as running for 30 minutes five times per week, reducing the amount of food that they eat by 25%, reducing evening snacking by nothing eaten after 7pm and limit alcohol to 2 drinks per week.  All of these are measurable and by focusing on this activity they would start noticing the goal of losing weight start happening.

The same is true with people at work.   Work with them to clarify what the expectations are around their activity.  It can be something as simple as that they will send 25 emails per week, make 15 phone calls per week, have 7 meetings per week with a goal of generating 2 projects or proposals per week.  

All of these KPI targets give them something to focus toward and are easily track-able.  You need to ensure that they also take the right approach with the right skills in the right way to ensure quality as well (make sure you train them!)  This is much more realistic than giving someone a target to achieve and then just waiting week by week for the results to come in.  

A few things to remember to focus on:

  1. Create Work Activity Targets.  This could be around specific activities that you need to take in your role around phone calls, meetings, projects or proposals.  For managers internally it could be a target around staff 1:1 sessions per week, team meetings, coaching staff or other activities that will benefit the business.
  2. Create Home Activity Targets.  You can also use this process at home to help you remember to do the small things that matter.  It could be a number of date nights for a couple that have a busy family or it could be about ensuring that you have some personal time on your own every month.  

Sometimes we just need a little bit of inspiration from other leaders about some of the projects that they have undertaken to stretch themselves.  If you would like to be inspired by a range of incredible leaders, check out the Future of Leadership Conference which will be held in 9 different cities from July to August.  As someone subscribed to my newsletter I can also provide you with a discounted rate if you use the code SCOTT15.  To book a table at a further discounted rate, please contact me and I can help you leverage an incredible day of learning and inspiration.