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How Transformational Leaders Can Understand What Matters Most and Measure It

You need to know your “squats”…

Answer this question: If you were able to focus the attention and efforts of everyone on your team on one set of goals that would drive significant results for your company, what would you use as the one metric to measure progress? How would you know you were on the right track? What would be the rallying cry for your team?

Transformational leaders need a focused metric for progress: What are the “squats” for your organization?

A colleague who runs a large financial services company figured it out. He visited with the head athletic trainer of the Houston Texans and posed that same question, “What is the acid test for fitness?” The answer came back as a single word, “Squats.” The athletic trainer said, “If a player can squat twice his body weight, I know that the other aspects of training (cardio fitness, drills, discipline) are all in line.”

Seasoned leaders like that come to understand which measures reveal the most powerful indications of progress and health.

I believe that the same approach works for business. Transformational leaders—the ones who can make the biggest impact on forward momentum—know what to look for and know how to focus their colleagues on what matters most. They know the secret of the “squat” for their business—that single metric that proves they’re (more…)

Why Being a “Presentologist” Will Determine Your Future Success

Predicting the future is easy. Predicting it accurately is the hard part. That’s why I recommend a “presentologist” approach.

Regardless of whether times are Up, Down, or Sideways, we too easily get off track when we chase success as a futurist. So rather than focusing on what might happen, focus on what you can do now to ensure you’ll be successful regardless of what happens. Rather than trying to predict the future, prepare for it.

You can prepare for it in a number of ways, but one of the most important is through learning. And while we might approach each day as a presentologist, we can still learn in the future tense. That’s not easy, because there’s so much out there to learn and a limited amount of time each day in which to learn it. What we choose to learn is critical, because the successful person isn’t the one who learns the most stuff the best — it’s the person who learns the most important stuff the fastest.

When you consider all the options for what to learn today that will prepare you for tomorrow, start by looking at the options with three pieces of glass — a mirror, a telescope, and magnifying glass.

  • Look in the mirror. Be honest with yourself about your skills, talents, goals, strengths, weaknesses, time, et al.
  • Look into the telescope. What can you see in the distance that’s coming your way? How will marriage or a new child shape your future? How will life change as an empty-nester? What changes seem likely (if not 100 percent predictable) within your industry, your company, or your career?
  • Look into the magnifying glass. What’s happening at the gritty level of now? What do you need to learn to succeed today, tomorrow, this week, this month?

Wisely investing your learning time will provide the leverage you need to succeed in the present and in the future.

This post is by Mark Sanborn, the author of the new release Up, Down, or Sideways: How to Succeed When Times Are Good, Bad, or In Between. You can download a sample chapter at Order now from Amazon.