Success Metrics – How to truly measure success in business and in life

Success Metrics (Apress 2017)

I’ve been helping many people and organizations (especially Boards of Directors) wrestle with how to know if they are successful or not. And not just year-to-year, but for the long haul.  When all is said and done, when we look back, how can we know if we were truly successful?  This normally comes in the context of finding your purpose and later determining if you have a Vision!  I have a (free) newsletter dedicated to encouraging visionaries.  So I was very happy for the opportunity to write this book for Apress.

From the release on Amazon:

Marty’s newest book from Apress teaches us how to measure success at the individual and organizational levels. The key is to measure and promote progress in terms of organizational vision, mission, and overarching goals.

Business leaders too often succumb to the working assumption that they only have to show shareholders and boards of trustees that they are turning a profit―the higher the profit, the more successful their stewardship of the company. Wrong! To truly thrive and endure, all organizations―corporate, government, small, large, nonprofit, or startup―need to define and pursue the underlying purpose for their existence.

  • Understand why you should measure success instead of performance
  • Understand what to measure and what not to measure
  • Integrate the measures of success to tell a complete story
  • Share measures of success with different audiences

I’d love to know what you think!

How do you measure success?

How to Measure Success

“Obstacles can’t stop you. Problems can’t stop you. Most important of all, other people can’t stop you. Only you can stop you.”
~ Jeffrey Gitomer, business trainer and writer

“While this is true, what makes me sad is realizing that it’s the only thing most people seem to succeed at – Stopping.”
~ Don Padgett, Author
I’m a Metrics expert. Yup, that means I geek out on measurements, especially measurements for improvement. Lately I’ve been speaking on how to measure success.

And guess what? It ties back to Vision!

Vision and Mission.

What is your purpose in life? Why are you here? Why were you created? Why does your organization exist?
What is your vision for the future? What is your dream for a better world?

If you want to measure success start at the beginning (your purpose) and your new beginning (your vision). You can’t measure success in dollars or hours. I can’t measure my success by the number of readers of this newsletter or the number of referrals for new readers.

My success has to be measured by how well I fulfill my purpose and how well I’m progressing toward my vision.

Remember, Your Vision Will Change the World – and your success will be measured by it!


Time to climb the stairs

Vision is not enough; it must be combined with venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps; we must step up the stairs.

~Vaclav Havel

I’ve said (more than once) that your mission isn’t to “do” but to share your vision. So, you may think I’m contradicting myself by using the above quote. Let me explain why I’m not.

It takes a lot of people, organizations, and agencies to make a world-changing vision come true.

The Visionary: Your task as a visionary – your steps to climb are made up of sharing that vision. It’s not easy! You have to be willing to speak up – to evangelize. You have to find and grow disciples. You have to be unswerving in your dedication to ensuring the message is heard. This can be much more daunting than what the doer’s have to accomplish. You can’t see the top of the stairs you’re climbing.

Disciples: As an early adopter, a believer, a disciple – others must take up your vision and share it. They aren’t as dedicated as you, but they’re pretty close. They also don’t do as many tasks to make the vision come true. Their tasks are the same as the visionary.

Doer’s: Most of us wish we didn’t have the burden of sharing our visions. It would be so much easier to be a doer instead. Just tell me what to do, and I’ll get it done. I want to help, but I can’t dedicate my life to it. I just want to help…right now. For the doer, the stairs are of varying length – sometimes it’s only an aerobic step box. Unfortunately, as a visionary, this is not your primary role. Sure, you can “do” some of the stuff necessary…but only if it doesn’t distract you from your role. Besides sharing the vision, you need to help these doers by giving them encouragement, celebrating their successes, and ensure their direction – your vision – is clearly stated.


Having a vision doesn’t make it happen. But you knew that.

Remember, Your Vision WILL Change the World!

Don’t let your success lead you to fail

Nearly all people can stand adversity, but if you want to test a person’s character, give them power
–  Abraham Lincoln

Visionaries (you and I) start out lamenting and worrying over how we will deal with all of the barriers and roadblocks placed in our path.  We stress out over the naysayers and battle against the protagonists.  But these struggles are nothing compared with success.

When your vision is coming true.  When you can see that the world is moving smoothly toward your vision, it will become even harder for you to cope.  It is truly a test of a person’s character.  Think about when you’ve been in charge.  When others are waiting to follow you.

These are really scary moments.  These are the times when your mettle will be truly tested.

So, don’t relax.  Don’t become complacent as you see small wins along the way.  While the momentum will make some aspects of your vision easier, it will also make it harder for you to stay true to the direction you’ve set.

Stay the course.  Stay humble.  Stay focused.

Remember, You’re Vision Will Change The World!

[yes, I took a small liberty in making the quote more politically correct]