Are you checking your progress?

I know of one business where there are 2 people “checking” for 1 person “doing”. Unsurprisingly, it is not the most entrepreneurial business I have come across!

I also know of a few businesses that were very poor at checking and they are no longer in existence today.

You have to get the balance right otherwise you become too slow or hit the rocks.

I was fortunate enough to go to the most amazing day at the London 2012 Olympics. It became known as Super Saturday. I have been to some great sporting events, but nothing matches the excitement of that warm Saturday evening. The standout moment for me was when 80,000 people stood on their feet and roared continuously for the local hero, Mo Farrah, all through the whole of the men’s 10,000 metres.

He had failed to qualify for the Beijing 5000 metre final, he had won the silver medal in the 2011 World Championships,MO2 but now the objective was crystal clear – only the Olympic Gold Medal. The speed and time were secondary, but it was going to be a fast race with all the world’s best athletes gathered in a perfect setting. Mo was at the front of the field from the start through to the final lap, but the danger was the element of surprise if somebody broke away from the pack with a quick sprint.

The effort, concentration and tension were immense, but Mo constantly kept looking up at the large screens at either end of the stadium to check what his competitors were doing. He didn’t have a rear-view mirror, but he did have the screens to make sure he wasn’t caught out. And then just in front of where we were sitting Mo was the one who made the sprint for home and to Olympic glory in 27 minutes 30.42 seconds in front of 80,000 ecstatic supporters.

How do you know that you are on track in your day job?

Once you realise that you are heading off-course don’t delay to take corrective action.

Think through what are the key measures and navigational instruments that you currently use. Normally the tools and instruments we have are good enough, especially for the short term, but the real problems usually lie you and me. We are the ones who need to get our heads up, use our eyes and ears, ask for feedback and touch things as we manage-by-walking-around. Mo Farrah used what was available.

John Greenway

This article is an excerpt from my upcoming book – “Leaders’ Map”. It would be great to get your feedback, so please do share your comments here or on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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