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Life is Just Chutes and Ladders

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Life is Just Chutes and Ladders

Written by: Rosalind Hall, Communications Coordinator

We have a saying in the Gambel office that defines our culture in all we do. It goes, “Stay forward focused and solution-oriented.” The term, while essential to our business day-to-day, has infiltrated our personal lives, with the majority of us affectionately reminding each other to act decisively in any situation. In this data-driven era, this can also be referred to as making a conversion, wherein you set micro goals to complete a macro conversion.

In the last few years, the Gambel Girls have been keeping a goal chart. It’s a fun, visual activity we do each month to identify what we’d like to accomplish personally or professionally. For every goal we meet, we gain a star. We are pretty diligent about it and are proud to report that this very goal chart was one of the reasons we received the 2019 Jefferson Chamber Healthy Business Award (see photo). Our success is attributed to the type of goals we create, the tiny ones, not the large.

This process starts with acquisition (identifying a goal and creating a space to do it), engagement (paths or methods to make the goals happen), retention (consistency in using the paths) and finally, conversion (completion of the overall goal). On a website, for example, a goal is set for product purchase. Obviously, several things have to happen for that final goal to be completed.

First, a user must visit your site, then they must be engaged with relevant products to spend more time on the site, after that, steps need to be taken to ensure the user is active in the session (clicking through products, visiting multiple pages or returning after a session has ended) and finally, a user must follow through with a product purchase. It seems straightforward, but if you are only tracking your final conversion (product purchase), you’re missing essential information about where users dropped off the site (perhaps at final checkout) or what key sections of the site fast-tracked the customer to conversion. In a game of Chutes and Ladders, you may end up at the end of the board, but you may have also fallen down six chutes or up two ladders to finish the game.

Back to our goal charts, we follow the same process and focus more on the engagement and retention portion of the process – or the specific chutes and ladders. The goals we actually write down end up being digestible goals and positive in nature, not enormous and negative. For example, a co-worker has identified a macro goal to not use single-use plastic. That’s a hefty commitment! It’s also worded to reflect consequences if she does not meet her goal. Therefore, her goal tracker may actually say, “Used metal straw with every beverage.” The goal instantly becomes a bite-sized, trackable measure. It also becomes a positive action that can be rewarded. She puts a star on the chart (with some nagging from coworkers) every time she refuses a plastic straw and uses her metal one. If at the end of the month she looks back and notices she only has nine stars, but knows she drank an iced coffee each day (or three, let’s be honest here), she can identify where exactly she dropped off and make amendments from there. Did she leave her straw in the dishwasher at home? Was her straw dirty every time she went to use it? Her next goal may then become even more refined, say, to just bring her metal straw to work or clean the straw immediately after every use. Alternatively, if the original goal is completed, the following month she may graduate to doing-away with plastic forks too. Good for her!

Of course, the competition of who has the most stars on their tracker gives us all an extra boost to complete our goals and being a small, but vocal bunch definitely keeps us accountable (candidly, I never had the patience for Chutes and Ladders – and it shows), but what makes us truly successful is the breakdown of the larger conversion. After all, whether you’re plummeting down that chute, or propelling up that ladder, you’re making moves towards winning the game.



Rosalind Hall