The SAMMER Test: Leading People To Get The Right Results At the Right Time In The Right Way

The author asserts that most leaders get the wrong results or the right results in the wrong ways.  He offers the SAMMER Test to help you align the results you need to achieve with the results that you actually do achieve.

By Brent Filson - 2005

As a leader, you do nothing more important than get results. But simply getting results can be easy.

What's not easy is getting the right results ... to the right degree ... at the right time ... for the right purpose ... in the right ways.

It's been my experience consulting with thousands of leaders worldwide during the past two decades that the vast majority of leaders get the wrong results -- or the right results in the wrong ways.

Here’s a tool to help you get the right results. It's called the SAMMER Test, and you can use it continually throughout your career.

The SAMMER Test is simply a way of testing the results you intend to achieve, or the results you actually achieve, to insure they are the right results.

SAMMER is an acronym. Results should be:

S - Sizable.  Whatever results you are getting now, you can always get more. Not only can you get more; but as a leader, you MUST CONTINUALLY STRIVE TO GET MORE. Sizable is not an option. Sizable is a necessity.

A - Achievable.  Many leaders impose unrealistic expectations on people and so lose their trust and confidence. People must be challenged to do what they don't think they can do, but they must also be able, ultimately, to do it.

Here's a tip for making achievable happen in the realm of sizable. Say to whom you are challenging: "I know you don't think you can meet the challenge I set for you. But I know you can, and I'm going to support you in every way possible."

M - Meaningful. Leaders who find little meaning in their jobs or the results associated with those jobs, shouldn’t be leaders, or they should change jobs and/or results.  Most leaders understand this.  But few leaders understand that meaning also involves the jobs of the people they are leading and the attitudes of those people toward those jobs and the results the jobs aim to achieve.  These leaders stumble on what I call the Leader’s Fallacy.

The Fallacy operates when leaders believe that their beliefs are automatically reciprocated by the people’s beliefs. 

The fact is, because leadership is challenging people to do what they would not otherwise do, leaders’ belief is seldom reciprocated.  Automatic reciprocity is an illusion.  If it happens, great.  But for the most part, leaders have to work at making reciprocity happen.

M - Measurable. There is no value in business without measurements. Measurements link disparate things, organize activities, and help unify those activities. Apply precise, meaningful measurements to the results we want before we challenge others to get them. Without measurements, we can't make consistent improvements. Make sure your measurement system conforms to four attributes, that they are RELIABLE, REPEATABLE, ACHIEVABLE, and CONTROLLABLE.

E - Ethical. As a leader, you not only have to get results, but you have to get the right results. Results only happen when people take action. To get the right results, they must take right action. Ethics help promote right action.

Ethics, then, are not traffic lights, they're running gears. Ethics shouldn't impede your getting results, they should help you get more results.

R - Repeatable. Evaluate your leadership and the leadership of others not only on the results you achieve and don't achieve but on the results that you REPEATEDLY achieve.

When we talk about repeatability, we must deal with process. A process is a series of mental or physical steps leading to results.

Often, results are not as important as the processes you develop in getting the results.

Repeatability is promoted when you identify the steps that helped you get those results then apply those steps as a process to get more results in that area or get additional results in other areas.

In that way, you make repeatability a driving force of your leadership.

Just because you’re getting results doesn’t mean you’re being successful.  Success hinges on getting the right results in the right ways.  Whenever you must lead people to achieve results, apply the SAMMER Test to clarify, prioritize, and give direction to the actions that must be taken to achieve right results.


2005© The Filson Leadership Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

The author of 23 books, Brent Filson's recent books are, THE LEADERSHIP TALK: THE GREATEST LEADERSHIP TOOL and 101 WAYS TO GIVE GREAT LEADERSHIP TALKS. He is founder and president of The Filson Leadership Group, Inc. – Celebrating 25 years of helping leaders of top companies worldwide achieve outstanding results every day. Sign up for his free leadership e-zine and get his FREE report "7 Steps To Leadership Mastery"