“What gets measured, gets managed.” Peter Drucker
Many trips to offshore fishing sites in the Gulf of Mexico are made possible by the wonderful electronic machinery of autopilot. I have been the captain as well as a passenger on numerous occasions on boats equipped with this technology. Marine skippers, both on commercial vessels and pleasure boats, all agree with the value of autopilot apparatus, a technology ensuring that the boat arrives at the location you have set as your destination. This feat is accomplished by constant measuring of the boat’s location followed by an electronic demand that modifies the boats heading. In other words, the actual path the vessel travels out to the fishing site is not a straight line. The waves, wind and tide push the boat off course. Autopilot recognizes these effects and modifies the boat’s direction to maintain the correct path to the fishing hole. Electronic wizardry! Fantastic!
Most companies employ this concept of autopilot. They measure profits and customer service–two goals that will determine the success of the organization, and in some cases its survival. When the important objectives are off course, the measurement that identifies this fact is then followed by actions to adjust and keep the company on track for success. Hopefully. How many times do organizations get off track and never recover? Just open the business section of any newspaper and you will see an example of this fact.
Does any of this apply to personal lives? Yes, it does. What is your main objective in this new year? Are you already making progress? Have you measured where you are? Have you made any adjustments to keep yourself on track for success?
Consider a weight loss goal, a common new year’s resolution for many Americans. What autopilot tasks help to achieve this goal?
- Identify your specific goal. I will lose x number of pounds.
- Measure weight at regular times. Perhaps weekly.
- Modify your exercise or calorie consumption to stay on track.
- Continue to measure and modify until you reach your destination.
Autopilot on a boat is quite essential and works really well. I know because I use it often on my offshore boat. The same principle that works for autopilot can also work for weight loss, business success and any important goal we have set.
Not making progress? What should you do?
- Review the measurement task. Are you evaluating your progress often enough? Are you measuring the right thing? Are your measurements accurate?
- Review your modifications. After you measure, do you also modify your actions to stay on track? Are you making the right kind of changes? Do you make changes timely?
Achieving an important goal is actually simple to understand. Even a major goal, one that will change your life, is not complicated to create. Actually simple. Every single year, most people create all kinds of new year resolutions. But many of these goals never get accomplished. Have you ever not achieved one of your goals? Do you have a family member or friend who struggles to attain something important, perhaps even essential to their life? Not uncommon.
The tough part is not about knowing what we want to accomplish. We all have dreams. Even if we do not write them in a journal or voice them to others. In the idle thoughts during the day, we dream of how we would like our life to be. We may even imagine the actual steps in the process. Does this happen to you? I daydream all the time. In fact, I believe that daydreaming is an important element in successful individuals. Dare to dream. Dream often.
What are some of your daydreams?
Graduate from high school, college or technical school
Save for that vacation
Heal a past hurt
Achieve a certification
Earn a promotion
Purchase a new home
Start a home business
What is your dream?
The difficulty for most of us is not the objective. We all want a better life. Whether on paper or in our daydreams, we all have major goals we want to accomplish.
Missing is measurement and modification.
I have a goal I want to accomplish.
Today, I choose autopilot.