This article was written by Darren Shearer and published by TBI
In the Parable of the Lost Sheep, Jesus suggests it is common sense for a shepherd to search for a sheep he has lost. This logic presupposes the shepherd knows how many sheep he has at all times.
How many times a day would you need to count your sheep to know whether one was missing? Throughout history, shepherds have typically counted their sheep once in the morning, once in the evening, and once after conducting any other operation involving the sheep (e.g., moving the sheep from one pasture to another, shearing, tagging, foot-trimming, etc.). While “counting sheep” has become synonymous with dozing off to sleep in our modern vernacular, this process requires significant focus. One might count 20 sheep, place a mark on the ground, and then tally them by moving his hand to another mark on his crook or dropping a pebble into his pocket. Each sheep must be accounted for.
What is your “flock” or “herd?” Whether we are caring for sheep or any other type of resource God has entrusted to us, Solomon reminds us, “Know the state of your flocks, and put your heart into caring for your herds” (Prov. 27:23).
How is your “flock” doing? How would you know? You can know by establishing and carefully monitoring clearly defined relevant metrics. Metrics are standards of measurement we can use to “put our hearts into caring” for what God has entrusted to us.
What metrics should you be tracking? And how often?
Jesus reminds us that tracking only 99 percent of our stewardship isn’t good enough because we will ultimately give an account for 100 percent of what God has entrusted to us. What metrics can we put in place that would enable us to track the overall health of our organizations efficiently?
In my publishing company, we have a goal that every one of our clients would 1) publish at least two books with us and 2) refer at least one new client to us. At the time of this writing, we know that 47 percent of the 128 books we’ve published were written by authors who have published more than one book with us. We also know that 48 percent of the books we’ve published were referred to us by clients who have worked with us in the past or present. These two metrics have been helpful to us for a few reasons:
- As with many small businesses, we know that referrals from current clients are our top source of bringing in new business to our company.
- Getting referrals from current clients helps to bring in the right types of new clients.
- Getting referrals from current clients helps to keep our advertising budget at a minimum.
- These metrics engage our entire team on both the operations and marketing/sales side. Our client support team members know they must serve our current clients well to increase the likelihood of them 1) publishing a second, third, or fourth book with our company and 2) referring new clients who know, like, and trust them.