As an entrepreneur, I always believed that profits, and sales are too broad, and too difficult to understand and predict. It was when I read the book, The 4 Disciplines of Execution, I began to better understand the idea of lead, and lag measures [what many call triggers]. A lag measure represents the ultimate goal you’re trying to achieve, like an increase in profits, but it is in the past [hence the word lag]. Where as a lead measure is predictive and can lead to the accomplishment of the lag measure [or goal]. Essentially, a lead measures are about narrowing your focus down to a few things that “trigger” the success of your goal.
Taking this concept into University was hard at first. What triggers success? What improves your results? I began by measuring the amount of notes that I took. I concluded that if I were able to type or write every word the professor said down, I would have more time to comprehend the content on my own time. Though I had great notes, I was never able to truly participate in the classroom discussions, and my success was not improving.
So I began the search again, but this time I framed my lead measures analysis with the question “what makes science students successful.” I talked to a few students, and professors, and received a lot of feedback. This process clearly identified a few lead measures:
1. Read the required reading, more than once, before class.
2. Study more, reviewing class notes, reading, and reading notes.
3. Participate in lectures, even if your note taking suffers.
Taking the time to understand the lead and lag measures was critical to my success in university.