How to Make Anything Better

measureYou have undoubtedly heard the expression “what gets measured gets done” first attributed to Lord Kelvin and later Peter Drucker.  I believe this truism is true.  But I’m not interested in getting things done.  I want more than that.  I want things done well, and I want them to constantly improve.  Don’t you?

I’ve discovered a useful set of phrases that expresses this very well.  I don’t know who came up with it originally, but I first heard it from Dan Sullivan, creator of the Strategic Coach, so I will credit him:

What gets measured is understood

What is understood can be controlled

What can be controlled can be improved

I ask agency owners all the time what their average revenue per customer is.  Very few can tell me.  Most don’t understand, at least initially, why I’m even asking.  I ask because the answer tells me a lot about the business: how efficient it is, how good its cross selling is, what its retention of customers is like and how profitable, or not, it is likely to be.  The answer also tells me how good a business person the owner likely is.  By measuring in this way, I understand a lot about the agency.

If I understand the revenue per customer, then I can control that number, up or down, depending on what I am trying to achieve, by changing things in the business and watching what happens.  By understanding the numbers, I can control the outcome.

If I can control results by measuring and understanding them, I can improve them by changing things.  When I change things while measuring and controlling the variables, I can see what works and what doesn’t.  And I can improve results.

It doesn’t take a business degree or even prior experience to be a successful business person.  It does take rigor, and this little phrase can provide plenty of that.  What about your business?  What do you need to measure to insure constantly improving results?

Coaching our members on simple ideas like this is one of the things we do routinely at OAA, and among the reasons our members grow at 5 times the industry.  If you’d like to know more send me a note.

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