Ojobo Agbo | Management Consultant, Business Strategist at OAI Consulting Ltd
You probably overwork yourself, under the assumption that more work gives more progress. But does it?
Everyday, we are thinking of how to get more customers, start new projects, reach new financial levels, take action, lose weight, grow in career, launch new books etc. We are constantly trying out ideas and taking actions.
Unfortunately, we forget to measure progress.
Have you noticed that, without giving thought to how you define progress, you can measure the wrong thing, or measure the wrong way. You might end up demoralized for no reason, or become frustrated, or falling behind unknowingly on a project, or missing opportunities.
Measurement helps you get results. It tells you how you’re doing and how much progress you’ve made. Progress checks can motivate you, help you catch yourself when you’re slacking, and tell you when to change course.
Have you ever measured? Just being busy and stressed doesn’t mean you’re getting anything done.
So here are 4 Ways to Measure progress:
1. Measure process goals:
First determine the kind of goals you’re chasing.
There is a difference between outcome goals and process goals. Outcome goals—like growing your customer base—are something you strive for, not something you just do. Process goals, on the other hand, are measurable actions that help you get closer to your outcome goal, like providing daily solutions, marketing your products each day.
For example, if you want to get new clients, your process goal might be to send 5 proposals a day or follow up on 15 prospects. If that’s your goal, just holding daily team meetings should not count as progress.
If your outcome goal is to close sales, and you haven’t closed one in a a week or month, you may need to rethink if you have the right process goals. Maybe “number of proposals” doesn’t lead to sales. Maybe you need to make progress on the quality of your proposal, instead.
2. Measure how far you’ve come
Another way to track progress is to look at how far you are from your starting point.
Deji is a thirty-something who’s just started up a fairly successful delivery company. The vision of being the next Amazon seems impossible! Or at least, light years away. And it is. But knowing that it’s not Amazon yet isn’t a useful measure for evaluating progress.
Furthermore, it’s so far away that it isn’t even clear which paths lead to that result.
Deji can instead concentrate on what’s been accomplished so far. They started sitting around a dining room table. Now they have office space, customers, a business model that works, money in the bank, and profit.
By measuring progress based on how far they’ve come, not on how far they have left to go, Deji can realize they’ve made tons of progress, and can make sure it continues to unfold, as more and more milestones get added to the list.
You may have your intended number of customers you want to have, or how much you want to earn, or the number of books you want to write. You should measure how far you’ve come.
3. Measure distance to your goals
At some point your goal or the completion of your project is within reach. Then, you can start measuring how far you are from your goal, and concentrate on closing the gap.
Don’t do this too soon!
As you keep making progress and taking action, you get a surge of fresh energy when you see you’re almost at the end.
At this point, you can make a checklist of things you’ll need to do to reach the end point. These can be high-level things like, “Run an ad to specific customers,” or low-level things like, “creating your product.”
4. Re-measure often
Once you figure out the best way to track your progress, and the types of progress you need to track, choose how often you’ll track.
Sometimes, tracking progress once a week is plenty. You may need to measure every two or three days.
That way, if you suddenly notice you’re not where you should be, you only have to make up two or three days’ worth of work. If you were only checking once a week, you could get an entire week behind before you’d notice it.
What gets measured gets managed.
On a daily basis, concentrate your measurements on your process goals, rather than your outcome goals.
Then choose a less-frequent measurement that is based on where you are in your project: distance to your goal, or distance from your starting point. With a little experimentation, you can find the magic balance that keeps you on top of your game.
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