Dean's Notes (May 2022)

Three Questions for Goal "Resetting"

In the perfect world, we are an inch away from the halfway point of our goals for the year. We're moving fast and going strong—forward and to the right.

In the real world, most of us might not be far from falling into the limbo of overwhelming confusion—questioning if we've set the right goals and are on the right path.

I used to—and still do sometimes—experience this feeling around this time of the year.

So how do you overcome the sense of ambiguity, cultivate the antifragile confidence to keep moving forward, and increase your goal-hitting rate?

. . .

Here are the three questions that everyone should ask themselves from time to time:

1. What's your wildly important goal?

Ask yourself, "Who do I want to be? What do I want to do? And what do I want to experience?"

These answers help us connect the short-term outcomes we want to see to the high-level vision that fires us up. We also get to remove the non-essentials by clearly defining what's truly important to us.

2. What are the lead measures?

Most of us set outcome-focused goals. The problem with that is these outcome-focused goals are lagging measures. Worse, we have little to no control over how things will turn out in the future.

We need leading indicators to tell us if we're making progress before seeing the results we want. The lead measures are something you have complete—or very close to full—control over. They are usually what you commit to getting done.

3. How do you keep a scorecard?

Now we have our wildly important goals and lead measures. The next thing to do is to keep a scorecard.

A scorecard is what helps us stay consistent and on track. You could also think of it as a habit tracker. A scorecard shows us how we do daily and weekly and provides feedback to help us improve.

. . .

Combining the answers to all three questions looks similar to OKR (Objectives and Key Results), but more at a personal level instead of an organizational level.

I'd love to hear from you

What are your wildly important goals this year? How about the next 3-5 years this year? How do you focus on the process instead of the outcome?

I'd love to hear about your experiences and insights and possibly share them with other readers here.

Simply reply to this email and let me know.

Book of the month

The Goal↗ by Eliyahu M. Goldratt and Jeff Cox

Summary in 100 words or less: Productivity is the act of bringing a company closer to its goal. Any action that brings us closer to the goal is productive, and any action that doesn't is not productive. Since every system and organization is a chain of processes, it's only as strong as its weakest link. The capacity of a system is equal to the capacity of its bottlenecks. To improve any system or organization, identify its bottlenecks, decide how to exploit them, and subordinate everything else to the above decision.

A couple of notes

Stability and Utility↗ Money has two valid uses: stability and utility. It has a lot of other uses as well, like signaling and scorekeeping, but these are poor uses of money.

The Art and Science of Getting to the Very Top of Crowded Creator Markets ↗ When weighing up the competition in crowded markets that require a lot of effort, you can discount circa 90% of your competition. Why? Because most people are quitters.

Be Challenged, Not Overwhelmed↗ There is a fine line between fulfillment and burnout. To maximize fulfillment and reduce burnout, challenge is good. In fact, it’s the one thing that gives purpose to what we do. Overwhelm, however, is a different story.

Leverage Points: Places to Intervene in a System↗ Leverage points are places within a complex system where a small shift in one thing can produce big changes in everything. Magical leverage points are not easily accessible, even if we know where they are and which direction to push on them. There are no cheap tickets to mastery.

Life Is a Game of Leverage and Here Is How to Win It↗ The most successful people are good at spotting these leverages even when no one sees it, or even better, have the ability to create their own leverage. Here are the four biggest leverages you can have and should develop to win the game of life.


That's it for the month!

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