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Monday, August 19, 2013

Activity Vs Progress.....

I have this nasty boil on my right cheek! It's bad enough that I look like a Hyena right now, but even worse is the excruciating pain!! *Sob Sob. I think a boil on the face has like 10 times the effect of a boil anywhere else. I tried to manage it by applying shea butter for sometime, but this stubborn boil just wouldn't budge, so I have been placed on medication and I had to sit at home today. I mean, I really can't show my face outside, not in this hideous state.

I apologize for grossing you out! Look how swollen the whole cheek is. I applied almost a whole jar of Vaseline mixed with Epsom salts. Heard it works like magic. Will see.

I am almost always on the move, because I am a bit of the restless type, so staying home all day for me is huge. I end up feeling sober, because all the thoughts that I have been trying not to entertain, come in like a flood. Even the TV doesn't help much. I think about MONEY!!!! (Oh money, where art thou), the activities of the period, things I need to do and haven't done, the seminars I would like to attend, meetings and so on. Anyways, sober is good sometimes, it helps you face reality.

Last Friday, I met with my accountant, we had our first financial review since adopting Xero. I tell you, that meeting must have contributed to the boil! I need a change and I need it fast. I am almost running a charity, either my prices have to go up or my costs need to come under control. This brings me to the point I want us to ponder on. Does activity equate to progress?

Activity Vs Progress

It is so easy to believe you are making progress just because you get up and leave the house everyday. You never really know if you are making progress if you do not step aside every once in a while to review all these activities.

When we speak about progress though, is it more money in the bank, stronger brand reputation (in terms of more twitter followers or facebook fans), more staff, increased sales? What exactly? Can we have it all, or do we have to conquer one at a time. How do we really measure progress? A good place to start is to ask yourself, am I deriving or delivering value from these activities?To know if you are, here are a few steps you can take;

Define your Objectives in order of priority
Progress is relative. Everybody, deep down inside has that one thing that is so important and overrides other things they want out of life. What things are most valuable to you. Define those things and create a list in order of priority.

One of my main objectives for Trezorlandia is to build a strong brand. It overrides the desire for profits and aggressive growth for now. It's like laying a foundation. I want gifts to become synonymous with Trezorlandia in Nigeria. So any activity, that brings me closer to this is value.

To be a strong brand, Trezorlandia has to survive and be sustainable, so I must make enough money to keep going and not fold up. 

Apart from business objectives and goals, I have life goals as a wife and mother, sister etc. Based on my values which I shared earlier, these roles override any other objective or goal.

Measure each activity or set of activities against the set objectives
Now that you have defined the things that matter most, review your activities to know if you are deriving or delivering value?

I adjusted my trezorlandia tweets for instance, because looking through I realized most of them were mindless. I wasn't really engaging anybody. To build a strong brand I believe you have to interact with your target market and convert them to your brand evangelists.

I delivered a birthday package for a client last Sunday and the recipient was so happy, she sent me this text that made my day. I was set with logistics in place to deliver at a particular time after I had spoken to her earlier that morning, then she called to make a request that altered the plan. I went out of my way to fulfill the request because I want trezorlandia to be about creating memorable experiences. That's who we are, that's what we want to be remembered for. That, to me is value.

Make necessary adjustments
When you do a review, you come out with results that should tell you something. Some activities are just not delivering value! The truth is bitter. They always say, life is short and this is true. See, we are already in September (my birth month! yaay me) more or less. Don't waste your time with activities that do not lead to value. It's time to drop them.

Sometimes, there's the pressure to make money, when I hear the funny sounds coming from my car, I want to just hawk pure water if it'll get me money!! Lol. But this is not in line with my objectives just as some jobs are not. I have learnt to say no to some requests. 

While doing a little research on this topic, I found something interesting on a site called the fastgrowthblog. I want to leave you with it. Editing any part of the text would be doing great injustice, because the author is just so on point. Read and think about it;

 "The effective approach (albeit much harder – physically and mentally) is to focus on progress rather than activity.  To do this, we must – MUST – disconnect from our “problems.”  We must work with them as if they were not ours.We must deal with reality and be completely honest in all aspects of our analysis (one of my favorite quotes is, “All Progress Begins With Honesty”).  It is far better to eliminate activities and over-allocate resources to them, under the premise of “Do one thing, do it well, then do the next thing.”  It requires patience to allow change to occur.  At the risk of using a trite analogy, growth starts “below the surface” and if you don’t tend to it, you’ll never see it.  This approach requires deliberate, focused action, and effective judgment."

Entrepreneur Tips

  • Develop a useful decomposition of higher level goals into measurable, achievable and valuable objectives. You should review this often, it's not a one off. - Value Focused delivery
  • Each  Objective should be further decomposed into achievable tasks and the tasks stages properly. Each single-day task should produce clear and measurable impact on your known objective. - Value focused delivery
  • Once you define who you are and what you want, it would be clear to you what kinds of jobs to take and what ones to ignore. Choose only activities that will take you to your desired destination. Learn to say NO!
  • In anything you do, value delivery is the only thing that matters. Are you delivering value? Are you getting value? These two are important questions.

Now that's progress!

Resources: Value focused delivery , The fast growth blog