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September 11, 2020

Leading Indicators and Lagging Indicators

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In marketing there’s a term called Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs, and they are exactly what they sound like - Agreed upon standards that help you measure your work against your objectives, aka your performance. Things can get complicated, with many marketing campaigns pulling many different levers, so KPIs are used to understand fundamentally if the work you are doing is driving business and generating results in a reliable way.

There are two types of KPIs, a leading KPI which is more a direct, objective measure of a tactic, and a lagging KPI, which is the longer term effect or the business goal you are trying to meet.

Within the context of personal goal setting, we over emphasize the lagging KPI, or the final objective, and believe that just by stating it it’s going to happen. Getting clear on the ultimate goal is definitely important from an efficiency and motivational standpoint, but where’s the structure? That’s where our leading KPIs come into play.

The leading KPIs are what we execute on every single day to produce our end goal. They are the fuel behind the growth and development that leads to an improved result. Remember, personal development is the process, self improvement is the state.

Take a community member, Arozo, for example. She’s training for a marathon and was looking for some goal setting guidance. The lagging KPIs were clear - to be able to finish the race, as well as to be able to run X many miles by Y date. That works great as a progress check, but how does she get there? Leading KPIs - Run this many miles a week, cross train that many times, the things she does on a daily basis to build up her fitness. It’s consistency in the daily activities, measured by leading KPIs, that generate the real impressive results, as indicated by the lagging KPIs.

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