Friday, February 22, 2008

Tracking Progress

Last post we looked at goal statements and how they meet SMART criteria. Now let’s keep track of the results.

The first rule is to keep things simple. Start with the number of goals. Too many and you will spend all your time managing them and no time actually working on them. Too few and you will fail to reach you objectives. The number and complexity will depend on your business/department/project. There is no magic number. If you have none, try starting with the Shakespearean magic number of 3.

Second rule is to work backwards. If you want 70 new active clients by December 31, 2008, how many do you need each month/week/day to meet that goal. Tracking daily for this goal is probably too small a time frame and will produce data that takes time to process for very little return. Tracking weekly on this goal will give you information before the end of the month on whether or not any progress is being made. Tracking monthly may leave you fretting after month 3 that the goal is not being met and 25% of the year is up – the cycle time from identification to correction to results may be too long to permit timely correction when necessary

Thirdly, ensure that progress feedback gets to the people trying to meet the goal. If your sales staff are reporting weekly the number of new active clients, publish the aggregate data to all the staff each week. Meanwhile, you have an opportunity for intervention with any individual sales staff who is not meeting targets. At the same time, celebrate monthly accomplishments!

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