We often make a grave mistake – we decide our course of action, and take a call on what is working and what is not working, by looking at lagging indicators.
And this is devastatingly bad. A lot of grief, pain and bad decisions can be avoided if you just look at the right metrics and take timely action based on such indicators.
For example, a heart attack can be prevented if you can measure how well your heart is doing. If a problem is detected early on, intervention ensures that a heart attack never happens.
In that way, all heart attacks are preventable, by reversing the conditions that are leading a person closer to a heart failure one heartbeat at a time. But only if you pay attention to the early indicators.
All heart attacks, therefore, are caused by a failure to notice or respond to early indicators. We only notice and talk about the lagging indicators, such as chest pain, people collapsing or doctor sending us for an MRI or CT scan when we complain of discomfort or pain.
By the time the lagging indicators show up, it is already very late. Don’t you wish you had a way to know earlier so you could intervene?
My measure for health is whether I am working at least 3 times a week. If I keep doing that, the possibility of lifestyle diseases like diabetes, cholesterol or heart attack is minimal.
Another great indicator will be whether I am smoking or drinking often, which by the way, I have quit.
Most people attach almost no importance to early indicators of success, while they focus a lot on lagging indicators careers. We judge people by how much they are earning. We judge people by how famous they are.
However, this is not always the best way to make a decision about a person. Money and fame are lagging indicators. They show up much later after the work that led to it began.
What you are going to earn next year is determined by what you are doing now. This week. Next month. Next quarter.
Are you upgrading your skills? Are you acing it at your workplace? Is your boss helplessly dependant on you and absolutely love to work with you? Are you indispensable in your organization or to your clients? Are you connecting with people and adding value to them? How many people are excited to meet you or have great things to say about you? Is that number going up every day? Are your clients or employer benefitting from your work in a measurable, evident way? Or is it in the grey zone?
These are the indicators based on which I can say if your income will increase by a routine 5% or get doubled or tripled next year.
The early indicator is something that needs to be paid attention to, and the outcome then is bound to show up.
When I just joined NUJS, I was quite poor. I barely had the money to get a regular recharge for my phone or to go out for dinner with my friends if I wanted. However, that was only temporary, and I knew it. I did not “feel” poor. I was excited that I was going to be affluent soon. I would be able to access things that were outside my reach so far! I knew that I will earn well at least after graduation. I started earning substantial money by the end of my 2nd year itself.
Going to a law school was an early indicator that I was going to earn well and not have money problems. I knew it. I was acting on it.
We cannot decide how well LawSikho is doing financially only by looking at our monthly revenue figures. The real metrics are these:
How many students are finishing a course successfully?
How many people are submitting their weekly assignments?
How many learners are voluntarily giving us good testimonials?
How many people are coming to our website and signing up to receive mails?
How many are actually opening those emails that we send?
From the point of starting to read our emails to actually buying a course, the average cycle for most people is 3 months.
That means I cannot decide if we did a good job this month by looking at this month’s revenue. Even if it’s really good, we have to really pay close attention to the early indicators and not get fooled by the late indicator.
And if we don’t live up to our expectations or target, it does not mean that we did something wrong in the current month. We probably started making that mistake at least 3 months earlier.
Without this clarity, we can never make the right decisions.
What would be your early and lagging indicators in areas of life you care about?
What about health? Important relationships?
What about your career? Are you investing time and money into learning new skills? Are you practicing generosity with your clients, colleagues, and peers?
What are the areas of work you struggle with? Could you learn to get better at those things?
Are you getting excited about the work you do? Should you shift into a new area that excites you more?
Take a minute and think about these questions. Send me your responses, I would love to know what you think. I personally read every response and try to respond to as many as I can.
Here are some courses that are open for enrollment in October, which I would recommend you to check out:
EXECUTIVE CERTIFICATE COURSES
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