“The best job you will ever have is one where you know how you did at the end of every day. The ideal performance appraisal is one that is done every day. If performance can be measured by the performer, it is possible to get the benefits of daily measurement without the high cost of management time.” – Aubrey Daniels, Bringing Out the Best in People
I love the idea of a daily performance gauge. A system to let me know how I measured up today. And help me make real-time corrections.
How often do we reflect on the events of the day? I sometimes compare my actions against my to-do list. I gain some sense of accomplishment. Whether I achieved what I planned.
But this isn’t growth. It’s not long-term development. It’s the same trap we fall into with every metric available to us. We measure what’s easy and consider that to be the mark of success.
Long-term success doesn’t come from a list of accomplishments. It comes from the behaviors that we develop to bring about those accomplishments. Which needs incremental, daily reinforcement.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle
A daily investment of five minutes that’s returned it’s worth many times over. Starting and ending each day with a sense of gratitude. I’m more patient and relaxed. I keep a positive outlook and am more present with my family.
But the best part was knowing I control that day’s success. I choose how I want to show up today and what will make it worthwhile. I choose the values that I want to live by. And I have the power to live in accordance with those values.
The question then is where do I want to assign value? And how can I measure this on a daily basis?
Measure What’s Worth Managing
Peter Drucker is often credited with the line “what gets measured, gets managed.”
I consider a variant to be, don’t measure what we don’t want to manage.
The only reason to measure something, is if we want to take action. Otherwise we’re just collecting data.
With this thought, I laid out my measure of daily success. To borrow a thought from James Altucher, if I can improve 1% in each area every day, at the end of the year I’ll be 3800% percent better.
I’d rather live in the Rooseveltian arena than be watching from the sidelines. Too many studies show that people reflecting on their lives regret the actions they didn’t take.
Act with integrity, character, and consistency. The more real relationships–the more trust that I build–brings more opportunities to make a difference.
The mark of every leader is their ability to influence positive change. If I’m not helping people change, I’m replaceable.
Be Present. Enjoy Life.
Life’s too short to not have fun every day. If I don’t make time for it today, I’m even more likely to ignore it tomorrow.
Learn Every Day.
Like any muscle, our mind atrophies if we don’t exercise it every day. Ten thousand hours may be just a number, but mastery requires patience and daily focus.
All of life’s benefits, I’m merely leasing for today. For this moment. When they are gone, will I have appreciated them fully?
Maybe not the most objective criteria for success, but these are the areas where I want to focus.
It doesn’t need to be complicated. The main question is: At the end of each day, what accomplishments will I be proud of?
What questions can I ask myself that if positive will be the mark of a successful day? And if negative, give me a means to improve tomorrow?
It changes from time to time, but this is today’s snapshot:
- When I had the opportunity, did I choose courage over comfort?
- How did I build trust? How did I not?
- What did I learn?
- Who did I help today? Who could I have helped more?
- How did I have fun?
- What amazing things happened today?
That’s my daily performance appraisal.
I’ll keep aiming for that 1% improvement. Every day brings progress.