Success: The Deming Cycle

Here is a truism: you don’t have to get things absolutely right in order to achieve success, it is so much more important to simply get things going. People who succeed, I believe, intrinsically understand this important principle. If you simply get things going, and you also build improvement mechanisms into your working methods, then it is very difficult indeed to fail at anything. Think about this very carefully.

Many people actually put off their own success by not understanding this principle. There are many people with whom I speak, for example, who are interested in making money online, but who say something like this: I just need to get the right idea together. It is so common, but my response is that that you can actually succeed online with pretty-much any idea. Or sometimes people will say: I did have a great idea, but then I found out that someone else had already done it. Again, this is very comment, and my response to that is: well, so what?

The chances are that you won’t be the first person to think up some great idea, the chances are that you won’t be the person with the next Facebook idea or the next Twitter idea – that’s true – but you just don’t need that kind of idea. Almost any idea can be turned into success online. But you can absolutely guarantee that you definitely won’t get to where you want to be if you don’t set out in the first place. Of course, you do need to know your final destination, but you don’t need to know the route you will take.

Quantify your mission and goals. Make sure each of your goals represent steps along the way to achieving your mission and plan how to achieve each goal one at a time. Then, focus on just achieving one goal; the first goal in your mission plan. If you encounter difficulty, well that’s only to be expected isn’t it, especially if you are planning something big? Brainstorm your way around those difficulties and just keep going.

Here’s a nice little approach you might like to try, in relation to making those course corrections along the way to each goal. It is a quality cycle, or circle, proposed by the famous management expert William Edwards Deming with four simple steps: plan, do, check, act. I understand that Deming, who died in 1993, actually called the cycle the Shewhart Cycle, but these days, most people know it by his name i.e. The Deming Cycle.

Let me briefly explain the 4 steps:

Plan – Decide upon the specific actions you intend to take
Do – Perform those actions for a specified period
Check – Measure and Analyse the results
Act – Decide what you will do next based upon the Analysis

Now there is a great deal of wisdom contained within this simple idea. When we set out to plan something, especially if we have not done it before or if the goal is very big or high risk, then we simply may not really understand how to reach it. The Deming Cycle gives us a simple method of testing out our ideas. Essentially, you can try something out to see if it works, then, by collecting data you can analyse the effectiveness of the approach and base your subsequent decisions on the actual results you produce.

You may remember that in an earlier post, when we spoke about the 30 day trial period (see [link id=’549′]), I mentioned that I am presently engaged in two trials. One of those trials (writing 1000 words per day) is not just to see if I can keep up the effort for that period, it is also about checking the effect of that effort upon my Adsense revenue. Thirty days-worth of writing 1000 words is the equivalent of writing a book in a one month period. Quite an effort, but I expect this test to answer the following two questions for me:

  • Can I keep up this level of effort for a sustained period?
  • How much effort is necessary to get my Adsense revenue up to the level I want?

There is no question that writing 1000 words per day for thirty days will increase my Adsense revenue. I already know that, but what I don’t know is: by how much and also whether I would be able to maintain the level of effort required to make this tactic viable for me, long-term. When the 30 day period is over, I will have the answers to those two questions and I will be able to see whether or not this particular tactic will enable me to progress toward my goal of achieving financial independence through my online efforts.

What happens if I decide that I cannot sustain that level of effort indefinitely or if that amount of effort does not produce a significant improvement in Adsense revenue? Well, that’s ok too. At least we have definite answers, based upon data, and not opinion. Once the 30 day period is over, I can assess my results and then make the decision about whether or not I wish to continue the same way for another month. By changing course (the route to the goal) we are not changing the goal itself; we are simply changing the tactics used in order to reach the goal we have set for ourselves.

If you are someone who likes to get everything absolutely right before you set out, it may come as a bit of a surprise to learn that this behaviour may be sabotaging your own attempts to achieve success. You must not let the search for perfection stand in your way of achieving success. Don’t worry too much if you don’t know how you will get to your final destination. Just make sure you know what that destination is, and then set out on your journey to success and resolve to correct your course along the way.

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