In my work as a marketing consultant, one of the first questions I ask at the onset of any project is “how will success be measured?” Sometimes the answer is derived from quantifiable data. Other times, success is assessed as a qualitative change in customer behavior or satisfaction.
So, as I’ve been pondering the success of my Minimal Challenge, I’ve been trying to articulate my success metrics. Clearly, reaching the quantifiable goal of 100 material items is one measure of success. But I’m also looking for a change in my family’s attitudes and actions concerning consumerism, as well as a spirit of team work and community building. And I don’t expect that evolution to happen over night. It is a process, as I have pointed out on numerous occasions.
Often, when we don’t have a clear success metric, we use what we refer to as key performance indicators, or KPIs. Just five minutes ago, I experienced what I would consider a KPI in my very household.
See … my children are finally old enough to start contributing to the family chores in this home. So, while they keep their room clean-ish, and my son will occasionally feed and water the dog (if he’s panting so loud that we can’t hear the TV), their most prized accomplishment is team laundry. I load the washing machine and measure the soap, but when it comes time to switch the laundry, my daughter empties the lint trap, while my son transfers the heavy wet clothes into the dryer. My daughter inserts the fabric softener sheet, and my son turns the dials and pushes the buttons. So far, so good.
Just five minutes ago, my husband was getting dressed to go outside and do some “man’s work,” by which I mean driving a mini-tractor around the yard with a wagon attached to the back so he can saw down trees and haul them to the fire pit (on our half-acre parcel) … kind of like the Tonka Trucks my son drives around with his Fisher Price Little People, if you will …
Anyhow, my husband asks me if his Carhartt work pants are in the dryer. I shrug my shoulders and say–“I don’t know what’s in the dryer. Because I no longer do the laundry around here.” Key. Performance. Indicator.
According to my calculations, we are well on our way toward measured, quantifiable success metrics.