The start of any year is the time when we all start thinking about new year’s resolutions, personal and business goals and organisational strategies for the year ahead. But, with all this talk of strategies and goals, we need a way to regularly assess and audit our progress.
What plans did you start to make at the start of this year? Did you think about your personal goals? Your work goals? Business strategies? But, what about ways of auditing and assessing goals?
We all think about formulating plans for change at the start of a year, we’ve even written a blog post about making plans to change your workplace this year. But, even now as we approach the end of January, many of our goals have already fallen by the wayside and been abandoned. If their not already a victim of the cutting room floor, many are teetering on the edge of being discarded for good (or at least until next year when you think about them again). These kind of failures are not the result of a lack of desire to achieve them; most of us who bother to think about resolutions, or plan our goals, do so sincerely and there’s a genuine desire to improve our lives, careers, workplaces or personalities.
But if this is the case then why, even so early in the year, are our resolutions dashed?
We’ve looked into this and believe that too many of us embark on resolutions or strategies for change that are unguided. Far too often we create goals without the mechanisms to measure and monitor our progress towards them and see ourselves running a marathon without having ever reached the end of the garden path. However, even the most widely ambitious resolution has a fighting chance at success if it’s accompanied by a system to split it out into its incremental actions and outcomes and a way of assessing achievements in relation to the big picture.
If we want to have accomplished our goals by the time that December comes around again then we need intermediary checkpoints to keep us marching forward towards the end result. If we simply start doing something and try to keep it up for a year with no opportunities to assess progress then, more often than not, we’re doomed to fail before we’ve even started. Afterall, how can possibly expect to work toward something without EVER tracking progress toward it?
Let’s look at the tactics employed by Lean organisations. When pursuing their strategic goals these businesses can establish constant routine monitoring throughout their operations to understand the performance on an hourly, daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly basis. Remember, this doesn’t guarantee that they’ll achieve the goal, but it rarely comes as a surprise when they’re not on track. This practice can help each and every one of us to review our own progress towards our goals. Let’s also not underestimate the power of action; simply doing something and working towards our goal is a huge step forward – merely tracking our path towards progress is not enough to succeed on its own. More often than not, in order to accomplish a goal, we have to change our behaviours and we have to act.
Assessing Goals With Visual Management
Let’s assume, for argument’s sake, that you’ve made an ambitious goal target for your organisation – you think it’s going to take some work to achieve it – but, if you pull it off, it could transform your business forever.
How can you keep track of your progress? How will you know if you’re on track to hit your targets? Do the team know the score and, for starters, do you know of a way to even begin to start assessing goals?
Visual management is a way of ensuring that the progress towards your goal is available to you, and everyone, ‘at a glance‘. In mere milliseconds you’ll know how you’re tracking versus your target and can adapt to ensure you have the best possible chance of success. The way that we here at Clarity like to describe it is that visual management is your link between the data and the people. Visual management uses intuitive visual cues to make succinct, accurate information available to all those who need to know it. This information is distilled down to its most basic form to give everything you need to know, and none of what you don’t!
There are other benefits too, we would always recommend a high level of interaction with your visual management – data entered by hand fosters a greater sense of ownership as the person’s ‘fingerprints’ are on the outcome. Trust us when we say that if a team member has to constantly enter figures which are below target (and in red pen) they’ll soon start to feel more empowered to change those figures over to green!
If you’d like to start achieving more of your business goals, why not get started by reading our ‘8 Practical Tips Guide For Successful Visual Management‘ and learn how to start operating a visual management system that helps you and your business accomplish more?