Finding the simple way to evaluate your daily progress
I’ve recently spent time helping people to understand how they add value in the work that they do for a living. Not from an impact point of view, but how do they know that they are doing the right things and making progress. In Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi ‘s book flow he identified that if people are to pursue mastery in their work it is imperative for people to have clear goals and feedback on their progress.
However most people haven’t even ever really been able to implement crisp goals, measure and then stick to them. We want feedback but are rarely able to get all of the feedback we require and each person’s needs are different at different times. But what if there was a small step you could take? Such as creating a system of self measurement to fill the echoing silence of the feedback we crave from others.
Ok, before you stop reading because you think this is another goal setting idea, let me explain. Most jobs people perform are done in large groups. The roles to be performed are often smaller portions of very large types of work. One person doesn’t build and maintain enterprise ERP system by themselves. And one person does not build and manage a fortune 500 company’s web presence as a solo act.
So maybe you help a group do things. How do you know you are doing the right things? What the heck do you measure at the end of the day that tells you you’re on the right path when these systems are always evolving? The How do you know to go on home knowing you’ve done A+ work and can relax after a job well done?
Each role in a work environment has something to measure. But what’s important? To add a wrinkle, what about jobs where you are not sure how to measure your progress, like management?
Measurements must be concrete available daily or at least weekly and must have value to the organization and why it exists.
If you can sit back for a minute and review what you do, you will find outcomes you can measure. Ask yourself, what would they do without you? Most businesses have been pared down and no longer have redundancy. If they do it is often short lived. If you don’t produce something maybe you earn something with a customer? Customers can be internal or external.
Thought of a few things? Go ahead I’ll wait. Now if you have one or two things or even nine, can you write them down? Can you group them? At the end of a workday could you tally a score? If so you have a start. Over time you can look at the value of what you are measuring.
But what if you are still having problems? Here are some additional examples. In customer service, how often did someone say “Thank you!”? In sales how many times did you add value for someone in your network today? In management, how many people did you make happier even a little bit today? Or how many roadblocks did you remove?
With simple measures, all you need to do is reflect for a few minutes at the end of every day to see your progress. Then adjust, self correct and see what you can do tomorrow. Over time these simple daily scorecards can be additive to other more formal scorecard and goal concepts, but it is such a low barrier to entry to start to track your activity and to give you immediate feedback. Once you know you won’t have to wait for that random pat on the back from someone else to tell you how productive you’ve been.
Credit goes to colleagues, clients and…
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi – Flow – 1991 Harper