How do you know if you are being successful? Is it a feeling? Is it something someone has to tell you or do you know because you are tracking your progress?

During 13 years of coaching executives, business owners, and leaders across the U.S. and Canada, I have found a common theme. They track their progress.

You may have heard the SMART mnemonic in goal setting.

Goals should be:

    • Specific
    • Measurable
    • Attainable
    • Relevant
    • Time-bound

Having the ability to measure progress can keep you on track, allow you to determine actions that need to be taken and add a sense of accomplishment along the way.

In 1982, the Asian Productivity Organization published A Guide to Quality Control, a book by Kaoru Ishikawa, which quickly became a quality control classic. I used it extensively as a field manual while I was focused on Total Quality Management in manufacturing during the early 80’s.

In that book, Kaoru explained the importance of tracking data during the process of reaching a desired goal.

Data and subsequent evaluation will form the basis for actions and decisions.” Data serve as the basis for action. “After evaluating actual conditions revealed by the data, proper action can be taken… Make a habit of discussing a problem on the basis of the data and respecting the facts shown by them.”

Highly Productive People collect data, which reveal progress (or lack of). This in turn, allows them to make wise decisions along the way.

How are you tracking your progress?