That’s Eddie, 45 pounds of awesome and a great way to get you to open this blog. If you look closely, you’ll notice he’s wearing a field training collar. He wasn’t too happy the first time he wore it – Eddie doesn’t really care for change – and he was even less happy the first time it shocked him. Then we went to a field to learn some basic commands: “sit, come, stay” always reinforced with a slight shock (save your email, no animals were harmed in the writing of this blog) and rewarded with lots of frisbee time.

By day 3 Eddie was whining to put the collar on, because he associated it with success: my approval and the freedom to run and play. And I was comfortable letting him off-leash to have all that fun without fear of him running away or attacking some less awesome park-going dog. The collar doesn’t punish Eddie; it simply nudges him into the behaviors make him successful.

I’d like you to look at measuring your people in the same way: not punishment, not control, but nudges that move them into the activities and behaviors that make them successful. Here are a few tips to help you start measuring and get on the path to the performance you want:

  1. Stress activities over results. The runner that’s only focused on her race results will ride a roller coaster of emotions. The runner that tracks miles run, interval speeds, and hours slept on a weekly basis will enjoy steady increases in performance, because she’s focused on the disciplines that create success.
  2. Commit to the long run. It’s hard to identify the right metrics and capture accurate data, it will be uncomfortable for a lot of people, and you’ll get it wrong the first time. Push through those obstacles – you’ll be glad you did.
  3. Nudge don’t club. The goal is to nudge people into the behaviors and activities that will create success, not club them into submission. Set targets at attainable levels, very attainable at first, so wins and confidence come early. That positive energy will generate higher performance than you would have achieved with a stretch goal.
  4. Make it a game. Share measurables within teams, if not across the whole company, and publicly and frequently celebrate top performers. Lean into the discomfort here and it will work to everyone’s advantage if you redefine “high performance.” The runner that wins the race is obviously achieving high performance, but the slower runner that nails her disciplines and gets a little faster that week is also performing at a high level and should be celebrated just as much. If you consistently promote this “getting-better” culture, you’ll be amazed and delighted by how the fast help the less fast.
  5. Get started… now! If you’re waiting until you have this completely figured out, you’re more concerned about how you look than how your team performs. This is about them not you, so step up and do your job.

Why is a blog about measurement titled “Confidence?” Because I believe real confidence comes not from great outcomes or extraordinary ability (or an extraordinary self-assessment of moderate ability) but from a regular discipline of nailing the activities and behaviors that help us get better. Measure those activities and behaviors, and you’ll give your people the gift of confidence.

And finally, if you’re reading this and thinking you’d like to become a more confident leader, give me a call, because I’m confident EOS™ and my coaching can help you achieve just that.