“They missed it again,” Isla complained. “The goal was very clear. Sometimes, the team gets close, but last month, dramatically disappointing.”
“We’re already two weeks into this month,” I nodded. “You’re the manager, what are you going to do?”
“The team better brace themselves for another speech,” she replied.
“And, how are you going to build this speech?” I asked.
“It’s pretty easy, I’m going to copy the speech from two months ago. Better get in gear, chin up, pay attention, focus.”
I waited. “Focus on what?” I finally said.
“The goal, of course. They know what the number should be,” insisted Isla.
“And, the goal comes at the end of the month, you don’t get your reports for two weeks. Isn’t it a little late by then?”
“I suppose I could get my reports out earlier,” Isla floated.
“Right now, you have a monthly number in mind, but by the time you get to the end of the month, no amount of effort will save you. And, yet, one week into each month, don’t you already know how the month will turn out?”
“You mean, like intuition?” Isla looked puzzled.
“Okay, let’s call it intuition. During the first week of each month, what is going on that gets your attention?” I wanted to know.
“You’re right. The number of sales appointments are always light during the first week, barely better the second week, improving by the third week, then crammed on the last week, right before we miss the target at the end of the month,” Isla’s eyes became distant, imagining the numbers in her head.
“So, in addition to measuring completed contracts at the end of the month,” I probed. “What would happen if you tracked sales appointments each week, while there is still time to impact closings at the end of the month?”