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  • Writer's pictureDan Beck

Sleep easy. What are your 5 things?

I was discussing with a colleague recently how throughout your career motivations change, and what was important 10 years ago is somewhat similar, but also very different.

I should preface this by saying that I now have a young family (a 5-year-old and a 3-year-old) and that has certainly changed my motivating factors! Early in my career my motivations were mastery and building a career, different things now keep me awake (literally and figuratively) then when I was younger.

But one theme still held true, "What are the 5 things that if I know, will let me get a good night’s sleep". This is true of both business and family.

From a business perspective what are the 5 things that if you knew (not guessed) would demonstrate that business is going well? Is it that your sales pipeline has sufficient breadth and depth to it? Your bank balance is positive? Your team in engaged and happy? All of your projects are running to schedule? A good click-through rate on your advertising spend? Or is it as simple as checking off that you were happy with the day’s achievements or that you ensured you had a moment of mindfulness?

Each person's list is going to be different, but the problem is that a lot of the time we lay our head down and wonder what the result was, rather than know for a fact.

The thing that is troubling me is that as we adopt more technology that this is actually getting harder! Yes, we have more information at our fingertips than ever before, and we have more ways to be able to measure it than ever. What we lack is focus. Focus on what is important and focus on what can be controlled.

So let me take you through a bit of a process to help you discover those 5 key numbers.

Firstly, what keeps you awake at night?

There can be many things, but let's focus on what is probably the most common. Cash. There is nothing like inadequate cashflow to keep a business owner awake at night. However, focusing on cash does not create more of it. Sometimes it can have quite the opposite effect.

Secondly, what is the driver behind it?

Now we need to drop down a level, what is the producer of cash in your business, is it sales and billings, is it Work in Progress (WIP). For this example, let's assume it is WIP, or more importantly productive time that goes on the clock for professional services businesses. Measuring and improving production is a much more active thing to monitor than a cash balance to know that current activity will have a future consequence.

Thirdly, how does what we report change the behaviour of the people around us?

There is the old saying that "What gets measured, gets managed", but we also need to be aware of the impact of behaviour when things start to get measured. So, if we start measuring productive hours, we can either be passive and just report the number to ourselves or get our team involved in making the change. But if you get the organisation involved (and I am all for this), make sure that the targets are set (so we know what good and bad looks like) and that the reasons are communicated. Once you have that nailed you need a way to make it easy to see progress, or more importantly the trend!

Repeat this process until you have your 5 numbers.

That is, the 5 things that if you knew would drive behaviour to reach the results that you want to see and start sleeping easier.

If you don't know where to start getting the data or setting the targets, that is where PT 2.0 can help you not only work through the above process but also collect and consistently report the data to enable performance. Our advisors not only know the tech but can also guide you through the process of reporting the right thing. So let us help you get a better sleep.

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