A good friend of mine was part of a team that climbed Everest. His stories about climbing the world’s highest mountain are both captivating and inspiring. The challenge, the pure will and determination, and the triumph and heartbreak of losing close friends are the stuff from Hollywood. The most interesting stories of all though, are the ones about how mountain climbers measure goal progress for ultimate success.
Teams of Mountaineers measure and plan in terms of ‘Leading’ and ‘Lagging’ – and this does not refer to who on the team is leading the group or who on the team is lagging behind…
A climb up any extreme mountain in terms of altitude or complexity, is usually made up of several days or weeks of effort. The goal is of course to reach the summit. That is the BIG goal. The ultimate measure of success. That is the Lagging Measure.
The Leading Measure is the bite size piece or baby step that when added up, will lead to the Lagging Measure. In mountaineering terms, the leading measures for a 21-day climb are made up of what the team wants to achieve each individual day. For example, a daily goal might be to climb from Base Camp to Camp 1 and establish the start of a supply center.
The most successful plans, be it corporate or individual, all have leading and lagging measures. Lagging measures allow you, your team or your organization to see your BIG long-term goals. Whereas, leading measures allow individuals to focus on all the small bay steps that are easy to comprehend and imagine.
Whether your plan is for yourself, your team or your business, you will be far more successful if you take the plan and break it down into smaller or leading measures.
Want to lose 10 pounds in 2 months. Sounds relatively easy, right? Most people will look at that and say to themselves: “I have lots of time. I will start next week.” Unfortunately what normally happens is that they wake up 7 weeks from now and the only way to be successful in their plan to lose 10 pounds is to cut off their leg.
A leading measure approach is to focus on losing 1.25 pounds this week. And… focus only on losing the initial 1.25 pounds and nothing else.
Test out the mountaineers’ Leading and Lagging measure – and let me know how it goes!
Robert Murray is a Vancouver, BC based Business Strategy Consultant, partner at Incrementa Consulting Inc., #1 Best Selling Author, and International Keynote Speaker. For further advice, insight and inspiration on how to unlock your inner leader, follow Robert on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.Business Goals, Focus, It's Already Inside, Leadership, measure, Robert Murray, Robert S. Murray