In a Forbes Magazine article, author James Slavet of Greylock Partners writes that he has watched some of the best startup CEOs in the world and found that “the most important metrics are often ones you never read about on the income statement or in the financial press”. Here’s five metrics that great CEOs and management teams practice:
Flow State Percentage: Jobs that require a lot of brainpower—software programming for instance—also demand deep concentration. “Flow state” is a term coined by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, meaning “you’re in the zone” when working on something; you’re cranking! Unfortunately, most of us are constantly interrupted during the day with meetings, emails, tests, or colleagues who want to talk. These interruptions that move us out of “flow state” increase the time to be productive and increase costs dramatically. To get more “flow state”, brainstorm ways that you and your team can reduce interruptions and increase your flow!
The Anxiety-Boredom Continuum: This continuum, when applied to managing people, means striving to achieve the work rhythm fast enough so that people are challenged, but not so difficult that people can’t cope. If people have low energy, or are showing up late and leaving early, they may be bored. If they’re responding to small setback with anger or frustration, or setting sick a lot, they may be pushing too hard.
Meeting Promoter Score: Meetings are a pain—and they’re expensive. In the last minute of a meeting, ask your team to rate how effective their meeting was, with one suggestion for making the meeting better.
Compound Weekly Learning Rate: The ability to learn is like the compounding interest on an investment: after two or three years, a relentless learner stands head and shoulders above his/her peers. Try asking your management team: how did you get 1% better this week? Did you learn something valuable from our customers, or make a change to our product that drove better results? 1% per week adds up.
Positive Feedback Ratio: John Gottman, a psychologist and author of “Why Marriages Succeed or Fail”, found in his research that marriages that succeed tend to have five times as many positive interactions as negative marriages. When a couple falls below that ratio, their relationship suffers. The same is true at the office, where you are often connected for years in relationships with people who can either become wary of your criticisms or eager to give you their best effort. Never miss a chance to say something constructive. Then when feedback on improvements is needed, chances are your team will listen.
Will these metrics work for you and your team?