Lulls happen in business. It is very rare that there is a prolonged period of non-stop functional engagement. Holidays, vacations, general economic and market changes occur so that sometimes there is just not as much business to conduct as there is at other times.
It is normally at times like these that management comes by to see what you are up to. We’ll talk about this in another article.
What we will talk about here is the difference between doing something and making progress. Remember how your mom would always think of something for you to do if she found you relaxing or watching TV. That was activity. The management equivalent can be the number of reports, plans and strategies that you will be asked for as a result of any changes to the general business, market or economic conditions that may arise.
Progress for your mom was you moving from elementary, to middle, to high school and beyond. Sure there were report cards every quarter, or semester, but the overall progress toward the goal and objective of graduation had a significantly different and longer time line. The current management equivalent for progress is not so easily quantified. We seem to be in a quarter (3 month) over quarter cycle where year to year changes have lost their importance.
The key is to realize that progress takes time. Activity can be immediate, but can the advancements it generates be sustained? Perhaps, but we seem to have become very focused on immediate responses and gratifications. We need to understand that activity is immediate and short term, and to also understand that there may be quarters where the activity may not put us at the levels that we want. We need to keep our focus on the longer term goals and objectives if we are going to really make progress.