Hit Your Best Quarter Ever By Adding Leading Metrics (w/ Brandon Powell, HatchWorks)

Metrics & Chill Podcast Feb 15, 2023 4 minutes read

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    Do you have trouble setting goals at your company? Or that you don’t have any real control over hitting them? Learn how Brandon Powell (CEO of HatchWorks) implemented a new goal-setting process to lead his team to their best quarter ever.

    How They Moved The Needle

    Prior to HatchWorks, Brandon led teams at huge organizations (like AT&T and Accenture). So when it came time to lead his own company, he implemented some of the goal-setting frameworks he already knew. Each year, he’d set a number of “big goals”. And to help hit those, he and his team would set even more “sub-goals”.

    But over time, this proved unhelpful.

    They were left with dozens of goals and projects and fell short of many of them. HatchWorks was still growing year over year and had incredible output, but the team would feel discouraged when they missed certain goals by the end of the year. And Brandon didn’t feel like he had any real control over predictably hitting the goals they set. Sure, he could pick a number to aim at and execute projects they thought would move the needle. But at the end of the day, he didn’t like he had the control he needed.

    One day a prospective CEO coach asked Brandon “what are you measuring?”. Brandon shared a rundown of all the metrics he was tracking, and the dashboards where his team could view everything. The coach replied, “that’s great, but those are all lagging metrics. What are the *leading* activities you’re measuring? How do you know you’re going to hit your goals?” Brandon didn’t have an answer. He hired the coach and adopted a system called, “making big happen” by CEO Coaching International.

    The idea of the framework is simple. Focus on hitting a few, critical goals. Then spend the rest of your quarter relentlessly focused on leading activities that move the needle on those goals. Here’s how Brand uses it…

    Step 1 – Pick 3 HOTs (Highly Outrageous Targets). Identify the three most important things you need to get done or move the needle on that year. Then pick a “champion” to own that HOT.

    Step 2: Take each HOT and, working backward, determine all the activities you need to do in order to hit that goal. The goal back is to peel back each layer, until you find the critical leading activities that make this goal happen.

    Step 3: From that list, determine the most important leading activity you perform that moves the needle on that goal.

    Step 4: Break that core leading activity down into its smallest part (daily, weekly, or monthly) and set a number your team needs to hit.

    Step 5: At the end of the quarter, measure the results and adjust accordingly.

    You might get to the end of the quarter and realize there’s a more effective leading indicator you should be focusing on. Or maybe your leading activity goals were completely unrealistic, so you have to reign them in a little. This calibration is normal.

    For example, say you want to grow your sales-led org from $10m to $20m in revenue. So you start with the end in mind and work backward until you identify the key activities it takes to hit that goal.

    • To gain additional revenue, you have to sell business
    • Which means you need proposals.
    • Which means you need opportunities.
    • Which means you need meetings.
    • Which means you need outreach.

    So one of your main leading activities would be “# of cold outreach”. You set a daily output goal for that leading activity (e.g. 25 outreach per rep). At the end of the quarter, you see an increase in revenue. So now that that output habit is in place, you move up a step to “meetings”, and work on improving some leading activity in that stage.

    After implementing this framework for 1 quarter, they had their best quarter in terms of revenue. But it didn’t just improve revenue, it brought a feeling of control, and focus. Brandon feels like they actually have control of their goals now. If they want to increase the goal number, they can simply increase the leading metrics they’re performing. As a result, they can drive more predictable performance and forecast growth.

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    Jeremiah Rizzo

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