The past few years has seen a favorable trend in the nonprofit and church world - the trend of tracking what kind of impact these organizations are making in their communities. Are people being helped, are lives being improved, are we doing good things instead of just existing? Metrics include high school graduation rates, poverty in our communities, healthy marriages and the like. Most are calling it a new kind of scoreboard - instead of tracking giving or attendance or growth, we should count these other kinds of things.
There is another type of score that isn't talked about and that is whether the 'bad guys' in your community look out for you and your people. [You can translate 'bad guys' however you want.] They help your visitors when they get lost. They are friendly to you and your teams. They consider you a friend. They know their community is better because you are there. And if you don't have any bad guys in the community you work in, you'll have to figure that out yourself. But this could be considered a leading indicator. When bad guys start to look out for you and your people, maybe you are on the verge of something.
This is an important indicator. It's subtle, obscure, and hard to measure. Here are some examples of it playing out in real life. 1, 2, 3, 4.
* Special thanks to Leslie B, Ember board of director, for spurring on some of these thoughts.