The North Star Metric and Why You Need It Now

Have you got a North Star metric? It’s one of the essential things for any company looking to innovate and drive growth. If you haven’t created one yet, it is time to seriously figure it out. And today, I will be explaining what a North Star metric is, why it’s essential, and how to come up with one.

The North Star metric is the most critical. It is that Metric that would consistently deliver Successful Customer Outcomes (SCO’s) and drive sustainable growth if you focus on above all else.

For Facebook is ‘daily active users,’ Airbnb is ‘nights booked,’ and for the BP Group, ours is ‘monthly organization upskilling.’

Why is having one important?


Because delivering SCO’s and driving change is a lot of work, and it’s easy to dilute effort and resources on things that don’t move the needle. Additionally, getting distracted with the latest and shiniest new ideas is a common problem. Having a North Star metric keeps everyone in your company focused on the most critical Measure for your company’s success. Chosen wisely, it will connect the dots from the front line to the top team

Creating Your North Star metric

You may already have created it in your Successful Customer Outcome Canvas®[1] (SCOC®). Even if you haven’t yet the steps are straightforward by examining your current key performance indicators and assessing what could be a lead Metric. Examine the metrics in the context of what creates the best outcome, for the business and the customer. It is especially effective when you aggregate the SCOC’s against all your customer categories and bringing out the most significant ones and deciding decide which is the most essential Metric.

Defining that North Star metric can have a considerable impact not only on your immediate customers but on how your company operates overall.

Your North Star metric will be different from other organizations, as is how it’s rolled out and communicated.

Connect the dots, Draw the Lines

Anyone involved in delivering Successful Customer Outcomes and driving growth for your company, from the ‘C’ suite to the marketing team to the operations team and all of your external agencies, should be clear on your North Star metric and their role in driving it forward. If you don’t have one and your success maybe isn’t where it needs to be, perhaps you should consider defining one for your organization.

  • Set up a time with key stakeholders,
  • Identify your customer categories,
  • Agree on the SMART needs,
  • Choose the most important one, then
  • Brainstorm what it should be across the entire organization.

It starts with understanding who are your best customers are and why. You will need to cut through all distractions and noise to identify the one metric that will have the most significant and most sustainable impact on your business performance.

It’s a significant process, and sometimes it can be challenging to see the forest for the trees.

It will take a concerted effort, but it is one of the most worthwhile things an organization can do to connect the strategy to execution. Realistically isn’t that desirable for every organization seeking to make winning systematic?

The Guiding Light

The North Star metric becomes the guiding light. It is tangible, objective, and touches everyone and everything. It is a simple concept and as a result everyone can understand it.

You can explore the North Star Alignment approach within the Certified Outside-In Masters® program. Review the short video introduction here:
https://cemnext.com/oi2020


[1] The Successful Customer Outcome Canvas® is a technique within the CEMMethod®. This technique and its companion approach can be reviewed here. https://cemnext.com/customergame


Other Useful Resources

I have just done a 3 minute explainer video for Outside-In – see it here:
https://experienceprofessional.com/oivideo

How to become Outside-In
Step #1 – Get The Book: Outside-In The Secret *FREE* https://bit.ly/OI2021now  

Step #2 – Get The Training:

Certified Outside-In Master® | https://cemnext.com/oi2020
Certified Process Professional Master®  | https://bit.ly/CPPM21  
Accredited Customer Experience Master®  | https://bit.ly/ACXM2021  

Step #3 – Get the Software:

The Experience Manager | https://bit.ly/TEM2021  

Step #4 – Connect With The Community:

LinkedIn | https://bit.ly/Steve2021

Blog | https://bit.ly/CXO2021

BPG Website | https://bit.ly/BPG2021

Steve Towers Web  |  https://bit.ly/SBT2021

Twitter | https://bit.ly/SteveTowersTwitter

YouTube | https://bit.ly/ST_Youtube

Navy Seals, Stress and Success

We are all potential victims of stress. The big project, the presentation to senior management, the delivery of a plan. In many ways we become our own victims and arrive at the anointed moment in no fit state at all.  In my NLP* practice, and especially in the context of the wonderful guys at NLP Comprehensive in Colorado I am reposting this very apt piece which talks precisely to how the US Navy Seals cope with stress (and make it their friend) to achieve amazing things literally under fire.

If you would like to extend your skills into NLP and the latest brain sciences then I strongly recommend the guys in the Rockies at NLP Comprehensive –  http://www.nlpco.com

Navy Seal Toughness

Tom Hoobyar

This is about using NLP to control stress reactions, and I’m going to use new research from our toughest military training as an example of what’s possible.

Our U.S. Navy SEALs have the reputation of being the best commandos ever created. A Navy SEAL is someone who has survived the most challenging military training in the world.

SEAL stands for Sea, Air, and Land fighting, and these guys do it all, from swimming underwater to jumping out of airplanes.

Those who pass the training demonstrate an almost superhuman ability to keep functioning in very stressful situations. In other words, they can keep functioning effectively when a normal person would be totally controlled by their primitive fight, flight or freeze reactions.

Like where things are blowing up and people are shooting at you.

What has this to do with NLP? Let me give you some background and then I’ll tell you how NLP can be super-useful here.

But first I have to tell you about a problem the Navy had. You see, the selection process for SEAL candidates was tough. But even when they had a batch of super qualified prospects, they were losing over 75% of them during the first weeks of training.

This is a very expensive situation. Navy psychologists looked at the failures and found something interesting.

The prospects who failed didn’t lack physical ability. Even though the training ordeals were extreme the candidates were able to do the job.

Nope, it wasn’t muscles – it was mental. And that’s interesting because the average SEAL I.Q. is way above the military norm and many of them have graduate degrees.

The ones who “washed out” didn’t control their instinctive reactions to stress. They simply froze or folded when the challenges got too demanding.

Mental toughness. That’s what the Navy decided to research, so they could keep more of these well-qualified candidates. Learning how to use their “software” to control their bodies’ “hardware”.

Clearly, intelligent people get scared too. Maybe it’s even a mark of thoughtful people, but fortunately smart people can learn more self-management also.

The SEAL Command Psychologist, Commander Eric Potterat, listed four key mental techniques that are now being taught to SEAL candidates. He found that these mental techniques can be taught to any willing person and they would increase an individual’s performance under stress levels where most of us would just shut down.

The “mental toughness” program was so effective that it increased the Navy SEAL pass rate by over one third.

These skills are now being taught to college students facing exams, fighter pilots, and key executives in some companies.
 

Here are the “Big Four” mental skills taught to Navy SEALs:

 
1) Goal-setting. I don’t mean “what are you going to do with your life”. I mean, “How are you going to get through the next half hour”? Turns out that this kind of close-focused goal-setting is a key to peak performance anywhere. It doesn’t matter whether a person is on a stage, in an athletic competition, or in the middle of a fire-fight. It is simple, and proven. One major way to combat stress is to NARROW YOUR FOCUS to the immediate future.


NLP skills can really enrich this technique. Just focus on what the next phase of your work will need from you – maybe just the next few minutes – and zoom in on that.

2) Mental rehearsal, or Visualization. How often do you imagine success doing something you may be anxious about? Take a moment now, and give this a try. See what it will be like when you do that thing successfully and easily. Notice how your body feels and what you hear and smell. Do this over and over again and you are providing your brain with extra experience of success.

Does this sound like an elemental NLP process? You bet. Besides increasing the SEAL graduation rate, one report I read said this simple technique raised nervous college test-takers’ GRE scores by over 150 points.

3) Take Charge of Your Self Talk. We are constantly talking to ourselves, at a rate that is many times the speed of normal speech. So when you notice something negative say “Stop!” or “Cancel!” and then create your own “cheering section” to be your encouraging chorus. Have them (or your own voice, whatever works) say “You can do it” – “This is easy!” “Forget that glitch – focus on the next one!”

Again, this is something we’ve done dozens of times in our NLP training. Now you get to use it in life.

4) Arousal Control. This skill is used to calm the physical symptoms of a panic response. You know, the sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach, sudden cold sweats or hot spells.

You control this response with deliberate breathing.

You know your primitive brain will trigger reactions that might be useful for escaping a hungry bear, but not so useful when you’re trying to talk with your boss, negotiate through traffic, or working through a family debate.

So, INHALE DEEPLY (for a count of six), hold it for a count of two, then exhale for a count of six, emptying your lungs. Do this three times.

Practice this anytime during the day. It will become your instant stress control and will lower your blood pressure and flood your brain with oxygen, increasing your ability to think and react thoughtfully.

Give this “Big Four” skills a try – and you may find that you’re becoming more resilient and a little bit more of a “fearless warrior” in your personal life.

Seeya,
Tom Hoobyar

Footnote: Tom passed to a higher life in September 2013 – read of his enormous contribution to the universe.
* What is NLP?
“Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) is a powerful system of thinking that can accelerate the achievement of your personal and professional goals …Some of my favorite trainers are…Steve Andreas and the folks at NLP Comprehensive in Colorado.” — Jack Canfield, The Success Principles, p 448