Progress evaluation for entrepreneurs
How well are you progressing as an entrepreneur?
BEING an entrepreneur, I’m sure this question has crossed your mind lately. At the start of a new year like this, a lot of progress related questions like these goes through our mind; how well did I do last year, did I make any significant progress and was year 2014 any better than the previous year? You’re not alone on this! Every one of us asks these sorts of questions at the start of every New Year. I guess its part of what makes us human. Ingrained in our DNA as humans lies a key factor that significantly separates us from all other mammals placed on earth. That factor is self awareness.
Doing the ‘right thing’ is what it means to make progress. Real progress is not found in being ‘busy’ (doing something); real progress is found in being ‘effective’ (doing the right thing). This is important because quite a number of people are just about ‘anything’ and on the long run they expect to accomplish the ‘right thing’.
Some Misconceptions about Progress
What in your own opinion is progress? Do you often find yourself caught up in the continuous trap of activity without productivity? Do you often get anxious and worried with each passing day or hour wondering how far behind you are in life? We all go through this phase in life, when you wonder what exactly are you getting at in life. Most of the time, what we consider as progress or lack of progress is often misinterpreted, so, I am going to start by debunking every misconception you might have about progress.
Motion as Progress – A lot of people confuse motion as progress simply because they think progress is measured in relation to what we do or have done only. What we fail to understand is that motion is simply the act of moving. It is one of the elements of progress but not what progress completely means. Meaning, progress truly does involve movement, but it doesn’t end at that, it entails much more than merely moving. Progress is concerned about the direction of your movement and not the mere act of simply moving. “Where exactly are you moving to?” Or put another way, “where is your movement leading you?” For progress to really happen, your motion [movement] must have a direction [focus].
Volume as Progress – Viewing progress in terms of the volume or number or amount of work done is incomplete and absolutely wrong. Progress is much more than the mere quantity of task or work completed. Progress is more interested in the ‘value’ of work done rather than the ‘volume’ of work done. The value of the work done is what determines if you are making progress or not. For instance, “what good is in the number of trees cut if all you were supposed to do was count the trees?” or “what good is in the number of trees cut if all you did was cut the wrong trees?”
Activity as Progress – The mere fact that you are engaged in performing an activity doesn’t determine whether you are making progress or not. Activity is not necessarily productivity. Activity simply means what is being done. It looks at one part of progress and discards the other, because activity [what you are doing] could be either right or wrong. Progress measures productivity which is the result or outcome of an activity and not just merely the activity. Who cares about what you are doing? What matters and counts as progress is the result of whatever it is you are doing. Progress examines the very nature or essence of what is being done (activity) in relation with what is achieved (productivity).
Faithfulness as Progress – Another popular misconception of progress is faithfulness, which means dedication or commitment to a particular thing. Being faithful in carrying out a particular task is not equivalent to progress. Progress is measured in terms of fruitfulness; which means the results of your being faithful. The essence of your faithfulness [commitment] is in your fruitfulness [achievements]. Who cares how many years you’ve spent in the service to someone or to the service of something if your years of service produced no fruit [result]? All you’ve succeeded in doing is serving your time and being of service to no one, but yourself. If your faithfulness yields no result, it is as good as foolishness.
Execution as Progress – Execution is simply defined as the art of getting things done. It is closely related to activity except that while execution is an ‘art’ of getting things done; activity is the ‘actual’ thing being done. Execution is the completion of activities. It is the process of performing activities in order to get things done. The problem with regarding execution as progress is that simply getting things done doesn’t account for one’s progress; you could as well be getting the wrong things done. Until your ‘execution’ becomes a ‘contribution’ towards something worthwhile; towards a preset goal, vision or objective, it cannot be regarded to as progress.
Engagement as Progress – Finally, quite a number of people think being ‘busy’ is the same as being progressive. Research has shown that not all of our ‘engagements’ turn out to be ‘accomplishments’. In fact, according to the 80/20 principle which states that 20% of our efforts yield 80% of our results, clearly shows that what we are engaged in most of the time yield little or no result. So, ‘engagement’ cannot be viewed as progress because progress is measured in relation to results and not in terms of busyness or merely being preoccupied.