Episode 69: Effort Versus Progress and Why You May Not Be Seeing Results

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Effort and progress are not interchangeable. Effort is good. It is where we must start. But if we are not making progress we need to rethink our approach. In this episode, I discuss: 

  1. The difference between effort vs progress
  2. How to think about output vs outcomes in your performance
  3. Artificial Maturity and how it negatively affects us
  4. Why rethinking failure is the key to progress

Effort can move things forward but watch for when you are giving yourself credit for all your effort but you are not creating the results you want.

Mentioned on the show: 

Artificial Maturity, by Dr. Tim Elmore
I referenced OKRs, from the book, Measure What Matters, By John Doerr

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Read the Transcript
Hey friends, 
How are ya’ll doing? 

Before I jump into this week’s episode I wanted to tell you about an opportunity to work with me in a new well. It’s what I call Strengths and Strategy Sessions. Understanding Your Unique Talents is the Fastest Way to Create Confidence, Clarity, Focus, and Possibility. 

You’ll Discover Your Strengths and Learn How to use them in any scenario – resume, job interviews, networking, linked profile, and your day-to-day conversations with bosses, clients, and peers. I work at the intersectionality of strengths -think of me as a strengths tarot reader. 

Check out the link to the details in the show notes. I look forward to helping you Gain career clarity and strategize what’s now, what’s new and what’s next
I’ll put the details in my show notes. 

I want to talk to you today about effort and progress. They are completely different things are they most definitely are not interchangeable. 

How often do you connect with colleagues and when you ask them hows it going, they say things like “there’s so much going on” or “gosh we are so busy right now”

But I wonder is your answer focused on the effort you made or the progress you are making?

So many of us throw our effort around the obvious wins even if it’s not getting us anywhere. We give it a lot of effort but we dont go anywhere. And we are telling ourselves and others that we’ve been working hard. 

Effort is good. Effort can move things forward but watch for when you are giving yourself credit for all your effort but you are not creating the results you want.
Effectiveness and success are about progress. Output and outcome are not the same things. 
Output is effort. Being Busyness doesn’t result in creating results or outcomes. 

Results can be measured in terms of performance – I may even be able to see and experience the outcome depending on the goal. 

What’s the difference between output and outcome? 

If you think of it in terms of your job performance output is getting it done, the outcome is the value and the experience you create for your client or organization. 

Another way I hear people look at effort or output is where they are consuming and learning a ton. 

We think we need more information so we study up and take lots of notes. 

And we consume a lot of data and content but we don’t make progress or test our knowledge or get into launch-mode. 

We don’t create change. We’ve fallen into the information gap. 

We don’t need to take more notes, we need to take action. 

And that may mean messing up and failing but at least we are getting new data about what works, what doesn’t work, and what we’d try the next time.

It’s been said you become a great player by playing. 

Dr. Tim Elmore refers to this as artificial maturity. While his best-selling book, by the same name is based on parents, teachers, and educating children, his point spans the ages. 

Dr. Elmore believes that children today are overexposed to information at an earlier age than ever. 

Paradoxically, they are underexposed to meaningful relationships and real-life experiences, which are necessary for true maturity. 

Too often, parents and teachers mistake children’s superficial knowledge for real maturity. I know we’ve all experienced that precocious child who falls into this definition. 

So they are overexposed to information and underexposed to experience. When they are challenged they melt down.

When applied to adults this is the barrier to creating change, too much info, and not enough consistent practice. And lots of melt downs.

We are so afraid to fail. When we failed in school it usually had big ramifications. 

When I think about the failures I have had, whew, I mean I failed a lot. 

And I dont care. Come at me bruh.

To me, failure is moving past the effort and pushing towards progress and outcomes. 

It’s about learning one less way it will work. 

I wear failure like a loose garment. 

Every time I dont create the results I want, it’s a failure. 

I’ve adopted a mindset of ok, well, that doesn’t work, what do I want to try next? versus making it mean that there is something wrong with me. 

For my managers and leaders out there, effort is the first swag of the evaluation. 

It’s seeing that the team is showing up and showing you where their time is allocated and where the time suck is – 

But dont allow effort to blur the needed focus on progress and the outcomes. 

I find that reviewing objectives, strategies, and key results or OKS and reverse engineering against your goal helps you and the team build a clear path to progress. And if you need help, call me. 

Ok, my friends, I appreciate you so much. Have a great week.