On Forward Movement

As I’ve been really working on upgrading how I keep track of all the things I need to get done, and thinking about how to give my best, this week I clarified a value and expectation about my work:

Always Make Forward Progress

I need to know, each day, we are moving closer to our outcomes and mission, the summits we’re aimed at.

I want each work day to count. And that means we’ve in some way advanced toward our next destination.

And yes, at the end of my life, I want to know I’ve made a difference through my work.

I want to know I’ve accomplished something with the time I’ve taken away from my family in meaningful ways. I want to know I’ve made a significant contribution to the things and projects I believe in.

How do I measure Forward Movement?

Talking this week with my coach, I instantly compared it to baseball. My son loves baseball and I find myself referencing it so much with startups and business recently.

And I mentioned two of my idols growing up was Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco. (What kid didn’t?!)

Back in the day, before some of the scandals, they were known as The Bash Brothers — the home run hitters.

They stepped up to the plate and hit the glamorous bombs with the big celebrations and what gets all of us excited.

Home runs are sexy. They get us all out of our seats and cheering.

And here’s the truth I uncovered ….

I want to hit home runs.
Every damn day at work.

Conversely though, I also deeply admired Tony Gwynn, who holds a .338 career batting average, which is insane in baseball.

In short, Tony Gwynn was not always as glamorous but he was steady and powerful.

Tony Gwynn got on base … A LOT.

And the fact is … home run hitters also strikeout A LOT.

Tony’s gift was getting on base and in play and not back in the dugout.

And when asked, what is the minimum expectation I have of myself for each day of work I do, I answered:

With the at-bat opportunities I have, I want to know I’ve gotten on base and set my team up for bigger success.

So at a minimum, I want to hit a single each day.

Some days will suck. I’ll have disruptions and distractions and it’ll be tough to feel like I can even get a single.

The chance for a home run closes down. And let’s face it …. we might not have a ball that looks good enough to hit out of the park.

Other days, I’ll walk in and maybe hit a double or a home run.

But I know if I have even an hour of time, I can get on base. I can hit a single. And that means a lot to me because it’s moving forward, even at one base at a time.

I’ve put myself and my team in a successful position too.

So what is a single?

Over time, I’ve refocused my mindset on Processes and Systems over Goals in order to achieve our desired outcomes.

So to answer this question, I started reflecting on the Key Activities I need to do in order to make maximum progress and impact. These are the things I’d do over and over and over because I know they produce results and will ultimately get me to my destination and outcomes.

What are the activities that if we do faithfully will lead us to the promised land?

Here are a couple of Key Activity areas that came to mind in business:

  • Connecting — with my team, partners, prospective customers, customers, collaborators, influencers, supporters, fellow entrepreneurs — I put this no. 1 because I know epic relationships make the difference in my life and business.
  • Publishing — this could also be called Launching, but I’m a believer putting yourself and your work out there. I’m in the middle of Click Publish for myself right now and it’s only reaffirmed this value and activity in my life.
  • Testing, Tweaking & Iterating — are we continually experimenting and continuing to test and tweak the dials to get the frequency just right?
  • Project Management — with any team, ensuring that work is moving along when it’s on another’s plate.

If I do anything in any one of these key areas, then I’ve hit a single and gotten on base for that day.

And what I love about these is they also set us up to have more Home Runs.

After all, Tony hit 135 of them in his brilliant career too.


This post is part of my 30 Days of Clicking Publish

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