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um-032310-emailHoward Behar, one of the founding fathers of Starbucks used to visit our offices at Illuminations, and his passion for developing people was always inspiring. One time he said, inspect what you expect, and that simple statement has stuck with me all these years later.

Inspection means to look at something closely so you can discover what works and just as importantly, what doesn’t, before it’s too late to make a change or self correct to the standard that you expect!

You have to set an explicit expectation, standard, or level of quality you want to achieve, and have a strong belief that it will happen. Unexpressed expectations are hopes and edge towards fantasy.

Instead of hoping expectations are met:

o Make known your expectation to yourself and others
o Put forward all your best effort to make it happen
o Run it through the highest good test
o Measure the results

You can’t measure what you don’t plan. And when you haven’t set a clear standard or expectation, then what follows are often the limiting stories, squishy excuses, and preposterous explanations that hide the truth of a lack of clarity and commitment.

Measurement is something that makes you focus on what you’re doing instead of making excuses why you aren’t. If you’re not going to do something, just don’t do it. But if you are, go ahead, set the standard and measure the results.

Besides meaning to determine the quality, value, or effect of something, measure also means a plan or course of action to achieve an outcome. Like they took cost cutting measures to ensure profitability. Or, they took portion control seriously to manage their waistline, and measured every morsel of food before they ate it. You measure the profit or your waistline to find out if your measures worked. One caveat. Make sure what you measure points to something important. I worked with someone years ago who measured everything, mostly what was unimportant … and it took time and attention away from what really mattered. Don’t get caught up in measuring for measure’s sake.

The practice:

1. Measure your results.
Think about what you need to start measuring now that will bring the results you want into your daily life.

When you decide to measure, you’ll find there are fewer surprises after the fact, because you’ve created a way to capture what you’re doing by thinking through what you want to achieve in advance. Then you can easily discover whether you’re on course or off course if you’re paying attention. If you don’t measure, you’re managing by chance.

2. Take the highest good test.
Never give up what you expect for the highest good of all concerned. How do you determine if it’s for the highest good? I found this insightful question in a fiction novel called Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts … I recommend it, and I think it’s a helpful way to think through your plan of action. To determine if it’s for the highest good, ask yourself if everyone did what you are thinking or planning, would everyone be better off. It’s easy to see that healthy habits, love, gratitude, forgiveness, abundance, profit, exercise would all get a positive nod.

Once you know that something passes the highest good test, then measure it to keep your focus on what you clearly expect.

3. Take part in what matters most.
Last week I attended a meeting of the Fabulous Women in Petaluma. Krista Gawronski is the founder and brings women together to support causes. This one was for a friend of ours who discovered she had multiple sclerosis. We were gathered together to listen and support her doctor’s research at UCSF. I looked over at Krista and realized that as much as we can measure how many women were in the room (over 100) and how much we contributed, the measure of the woman who founded this group was unquantifiable. Such is the nature of unconditional giving, love, and commitment to something bigger than our own concerns. Krista understands the power of a team committed to making a difference, and what is measurable is the difference she makes through her leadership and contribution to the world. http://www.petalumawomen.com/

When someone else can count you in, you become a measurable part of his or her cause.

This weeks practice is to give yourself the gift of measurement to insure your success, and the success of others.

My love goes with you as you work with this uplifting moment.

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