Many of us use a to-do list. The two key purposes of a to-do list are to identify what needs to get done and to monitor progress.
A to-do list is an action item list. There are two problems with monitoring action.
- The action might not contribute to success – getting a task done is not important when there is no correlation between the action and the desired outcome. What you want your team to think about is do the work only it is pertinent. For example, when time is tight, don’t spend time on making a report pretty, focus on the content instead.
- Action doesn’t imply quality – rushing to meet a deadline satisfies the timeline requirement. It doesn’t automatically mean that the quality of work meets expectations. Getting an invoice out before end of day is good, but accuracy matters more. An inaccurate invoice creates confusion for the customer and unnecessary follow-up work.
When you measure action, you send a message that getting the work done is all that matters. This is certainly not what you want.