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Input metrics lead to outcomes

Sometimes teams have trouble grasping how a leading indicator can drive outcome-based goals. How do I take an outcome I want to achieve and turn that into input metrics and then use those metrics to track progress toward my goal?

Imagine you want to lose weight, lower cholesterol, and become healthier over the next 6 months. You could set key results of "lose 40 pounds" and "drop cholesterol to 125" but the problem is that it’s hard to track that every week. If you do a bunch of things to try and accomplish this every week, it could be several weeks or months before you see any results.

Here’s where input metrics come into play. You know that to lose weight and improve your health, you need to exercise more and eat better. Doing those things will lead to the weight loss and other health improvements you’re after. So your input metrics might look like this (this is totally made up and you obviously should not use this as health advice):

  • 30 minutes of cardio 4 times each week
  • complete 2 pushups per day by the end of week 1, and double that every week
  • have a salad for a meal 3 times per week
  • only eat red meat once per week

These are things you can measure every single week, knowing that they’re advancing you toward your ultimate goals. By measuring these input metrics you can know if you;re likely on track for your outcome of losing weight and lowering your cholesterol. By adding those measurements as additional key results, you’ll have a well-rounded score card that gives you early insight into progress and measures the actual outcome you want to acheive.

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