As I increase my focus on promoting my book and speaking career, I have found myself getting pulled into the metrics of personal marketing. Every course I take and book I read is telling me the value of followers, shares and profile views. At first it made sense, if I want to make a living at this, people have to want to know more about me. They need to read what I write, they need to listen when I speak, they need to make the effort to learn more about me.
I spiffed up my profiles, added professional photos and started stalking the profiles of other authors and speakers.
In my years as a hospital executive we often discussed the difference between process and outcome measurement in terms of assessing quality. The proponents of process measures would argue that if a given set of actions are proven to correlate with a desired outcome, then measurement of compliance with the process is a valid quality metric. Those who advocate for outcome metrics note that the result is the only real measure of quality as rarely do process metrics exist that can provide absolute assurance of a given result. I understand both perspectives and given a choice would always select an outcome measure. Unfortunately, they are often difficult to obtain leaving process measures as the only option.
So after a few weeks of declining profile views on LinkedIn, I began to think about what makes a good measure in this new world I have entered. My book and my philosophy are grounded in a commitment to focusing on the "who"...who will remember, who will change, who will be better as a result of our actions. My approach, The Owl Approach, can be applied to a book, a blog,a product, a decision, our work, our family and our society. The Owl Approach provides a roadmap to move from focusing on what we want and need as individuals to what impact we have on others. My measure of success isn't what you think of me, it's whether I have made a difference for you.
If I am successful, you will be changed from our crossing of paths. I however will likely never know for sure. There is no outcome measure for knowing who we have truly impacted. Clicking the like button, commenting, sharing and viewing profiles are actions that are indicative of impact but they are process measures, not outcomes.
When outcome measures aren't available, we work with the process measures we have. So for now, I will continue to monitor the likes, comments and views as the experts advise. But they will only tell me how often individuals are motivated to click a few buttons because of what I have written.
You are the only one who will know if I have been truly successful and I'm OK with that.
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I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!