The renowned Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein wrote, “the thing about progress is that it always seems greater than it really is.”
There is certainly truth in that statement. How many times have you heard (or said yourself) that “we’re making progress” after a meeting or when giving a report? Chances are, it’s probably more than you would care to admit. I’m guilty as well!
The problem with “we’re making progress” is that the “progress” referenced is not usually defined. If you’re truly making progress, you should be able to answer an inevitable follow-up question from a true leader. Namely, “what does that mean, exactly?”
You don’t ever want to be unprepared to answer that follow-up. You want to have details at the ready. You need to be able to demonstrate the progress to which you just attested. If you can do all of these, you are indeed being truthful when you say that you’re making progress.
Let’s look at the other side of the “making progress” statement. Here are some pretty lame reasons that people try to get away with by falling back on “making progress.”
We didn’t actually meet.
We’re getting nowhere.
We have no idea what we’re supposed to be doing.
We can’t agree on anything.
We’ve been too busy to have any meaningful discussions.
Honesty is one of the most important qualities that we look for in each other. If you’re really not “making progress,” then say so. Ask for help if it’s needed. If you’re really not getting anywhere, shake things up – perhaps you need new people or a better sense of direction. You may even need to scrap everything and start from scratch.
Any of those suggestions are better than saying that you’re “making progress” if it’s not true.
Progress is a tangible thing. Be careful when you’re claiming it.
Please remember to take a look at ABSURD! Space is filling up!