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01 Oct

Make it easy to check off

Date: 2010-10-01 13:16 Comments: 0 st

We who do our best to be structured, do it because we want to move forward; we want a progressive movement in our life, in our careers or in our business.

What this “forward” looks like, is different for all of us, but what we have in common is that we decide to achieve something and then work as smoothly as possible in order to succeed. ??That’s why we need to see if we are actually moving forward, as well as define things we can do actively so that we’re truly taking steps in the right direction.

This means that it’s of crucial importance how we set our goals and how we define the road to achieving them. ??The more specific your definition is, the easier it will be to reach the goal and complete the task. Why? Well, it will be more obvious if you are on the right track to achieve the goal or not. If you’re not, it’s easier to think of distinct and specific things to do to increase the chance of reaching the goal, if it in itself is clearly and concretely expressed.

A fuzzier Olympics

Imagine if the track and field athletics in the Olympics would be as vaguely defined as how we sometimes define our objectives, milestones and tasks.??For example, take a look at the main event; 100 m sprint. What if the start was not set off by a starter gun, but the athletes started at random “around noon”? What if the winner was not determined by using photo finish, but the runner who won was the first one to run “about one hundred meters, more or less”?

If you didn’t win, what would you change to win next time? Are you going to start earlier and if so how much earlier? Within what limits? Or are you perhaps going to run a shorter distance? But, how much shorter are you allowed to run when the race is supposed to be “about one hundred meters”? ??Everything will be very vague and uncertain, and it’s easy to lose interest. Somehow it doesn’t create the same excitement and the Olympic games certainly hadn’t been a big success. ??Instead, it’s very clearly expressed exactly where one should be to be the winner (cross the finish line), and if you don’t start at the moment the race starts, you’re hopelessly deemed to be last. The race will be determined by photo finish, measured within the hundredth of a second.

Try this

Express yourself and define goals, milestones and tasks so it’s easy to check them off. You’ll make it possible to check them off by being clear in you phrasing.
Use the rich nuances of your language to your advantage:

  • Who should send what to whom when, and in which form?
  • Who will get back to you with what before when?

?You also make it easy to check off by quantifying in various ways:

  • three new customers
  • ten times during the year
  • four times in a row
  • 9,2 million USD
  • 35% share of the market according to a specific definition of the market

?You do this by setting a date:

  • At “that” particular point in time, this or that situation will be prevalent
  • The balance sheet is going to look like this at the turn of the year
  • On the 1st of June, the new product will go into production
  • In the second half of the year we’re going to have a turn over of X USD

Distinctly phrased goals means clearer results

It is only when everything is clear that you’re able to attain a result, or rather, it is only then you’re able to see that you do attain results. The result can be achieved anyway, since you’re in fact running forward, but you can’t see whether you do or not, and if you don’t achieve it, it’s hard for you to know what to adjust in order to reach it the next time.

So, if it is important for you to progress and you have chosen structure and systematic approach as the means to take you and your business where you want to go, make it easy for you to check things off.

How do you do it?

What do you measure to make sure you bring yourself and your business forward in the right direction?

Leave a comment below.

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