Rather than being a reduced version of the Direction, the outcome-metric of the Target Condition can be an entirely different.
Pat weight loss
Target Condition is a design of the desired operating pattern. It is a hypothesis, in this example “Walking daily can reduce Pat’s weight” – that yet to be validated. Pat validates this hypothesis when she arrives at the Target Condition, only then Pat will need a weight scale.
But before fitting daily walking into her calendar, Pat first needs to grasp her Current Condition. The focus process in this case is ‘how Pat spends her time’. Fitting daily walking into Pat’s busy calendar requires visual understanding of her current personal value-stream. Then, Pat envisions a modified value-stream as the Target Condition.
This value-stream analysis would allow Pat to make decisions and de-prioritizing daily tasks if possible.
What counts is to measure the miles Pat walks daily, rather than measuring her weight, because:
– Weight is a lagging metric, meaning Pat cannot act on it immediately.
– Daily walking is a leading metric because Pat can act on it right away.
In other words, Pat focuses primarily on practicing a daily behavior that can advance her towards the Direction.
Target Condition is a new behavior Pat designed that she ‘thinks’ will help her progress towards the Direction.
Three guidelines for behavior design
1. Make the behavior easy
Pat always wears sport closing at home so that she can immediately go for a walk once she gets some free time. In other words, eliminating setup time that can cause her to procrastinate. Pat has her phone loaded with audiobooks she longs to listen to. For Pat walking is not a chore, in contrary it is a joyful behavior for connecting, listening, and re-energizing.
2. Have a Prompt
After Pat got one free hour in her calendar, she leaves for a walk. If she has three fragmented free hours in her calendar, for example, she can walk three separate blocks of 30 minutes each. Having a prompt is a key to start a behavior.
After completing her daily walk, Pat celebrates. She has many ways to celebrate, one of them is to relax and call her son Taylor who lives abroad.
Deliberately practicing a behavior can make it a habit
Pat can lose weight, not by measuring it daily, but rather by practicing the new behavior she designed. Being able to practice this new behavior is her Target Condition. When reaching the Target Condition, Pat validates the behavior; not only for losing weight, but also for sustainability. Introducing a non-sustainable behavior is not a good design, even if it caused improvement in the Direction metric (weight).
Without having regular conversations with a coach, the odds are high that Pat will not reliably practice. Also, coaching feedback is an opportunity for Pat to improve her practice. Pat meets three times a week with her 16 years old granddaughter Sam, who agreed to be her coach.
The above thinking pattern works for many situations, especially those that the work is non-repetitive.