I thought I’d shot an 87 on Halloween in a golf tournament. The course was difficult and it was tournament play (no mulligans or gimme putts). I scored my personal best for that particular course, and I felt like I played my most complete round of the year.

When I was posting my statistics into an app that creates a whole bunch of cool metrics for me to obsess over, the score indicated 88 shots.

I couldn’t figure out why, as I kept going back over the scorecard and my score should have been 87.

Until it wasn’t.

I’d incorrectly given myself a par instead of a bogey on Hole #11. You see this tournament was based on a “net” score, and on this hole, I had a “net” par. I correctly wrote it on my official scorecard (for my pals who are about the tell me I turned in an incorrect scorecard leading to disqualification!), but didn’t transfer it correctly on my personal scorecard.

Disappointed, but the numbers are the numbers. I corrected the score on my golf app and then contacted the club manager to make the change for my official handicap, as I’d already posted it.

You see, even though it was only one stroke and was negligible in the handicap change, it needed to be updated. In the end, how we measure ourselves is golf, business, and life is the way we know without any doubt if we are improving or not.

Otherwise, it’s garbage in and sh*t out…

My clients have heard me countless times ask them questions like, “How do you know?; What evidence do you have?; and How will we measure success?”

Ultimately, any improvement must be measured correctly to be legitimate. Some of the measurements will be quantitative like revenue, profitability, retention, and my golf handicap. Others will be qualitative like employee morale, marketing materials, communication and leadership skill development, and peace of mind.

I love tracking revenue. I hate bookkeeping. My CPA was glad I knew where my revenue came from, but not with the quality of my records. It always led to a lot of extra work for both of us, which was costly for me both in money and time. It was when I finally hired a bookkeeper that I was able to better understand the finances within my business, where I was making and losing money, and ultimately measuring the progress in my business.

I find all too often that business leaders can do a better job of measuring activities, both with quantitative and qualitative factors. The next time you say, “It (insert the category – sales, culture, communications, management) will be better after we implement X,” ask a follow up question. 

How exactly will I know? 

My revised handicap went up by .1. Negligible, but legit. Allowing something wrong to skew your actual measurements isn’t doing yourself any favors. 

Always remember, what you put in will impact the validity of the truth.

Keep chasing unleashed. 

Quote of the Week:

“I want to put a ding in the universe.”

~ Steve Jobs

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