Leadership Success Tactic: Tracking Accomplishments

Recently I was talking with a former colleague, and she said, “Remember when you told me to always keep a running list of my top accomplishments? That was one of the best tips you ever gave me. I use it all the time and recently it helped me to be ready when there was are organization and I had to meet my new boss. Thank you for that tip!”

Sometimes, we get so busy that we forget to celebrate what we’ve accomplished. Instead, we just look to the next hill we need to climb or task we need to finish. However, taking the time to reflect on what we have achieved can help us recognize and repeat the things that created success, and note places we can improve for future efforts.

Draw a “life map” to accelerate growth
When I was going through my graduate program in Organizational Development, we were assigned to draw what the professors called a “life map.” They asked us to reflect on significant milestones on our journey up to that point and label each milestone as positive or negative during an hour-long exercise. At the time I remember thinking, “What is the point – I already know all these things about myself?” and “How does this contribute to my learning?” Being a good student, I did the assignment anyways and tried to shift my initial negative attitude. After the hour, the professor paired us up and asked us to present our life map to that partner who then asked questions and made observations.

The professors knew their stuff! The reflection brought up things I hadn’t thought about for a long time and made me realize that those things had lasting effects on who I am now and how I show up as a leader. My partner pointed out areas in my journey where it appeared I had slowed or stalled out or where my growth as a leader had visibly accelerated. This reflection over successes (and failures) helped me think about the factors that caused that slowing or accelerated growth.

I was able to immediately apply the results of that reflection in my corporate role. I began keeping track of any key milestone I experienced (positive or negative). At first, I wasn’t sure whether or how I would use that information, but it turned out to be helpful in several ways.

Awareness helps you weather the vagaries of leadership

Leaders can use this tactic of tracking key milestones to note the performance for their team and for themselves as leaders. This enables them to stay on top of performance towards goals and to adjust earlier in the process when it is easier to recover. Captains of ships often must deal with the vagaries of Mother Nature. If a storm blows them off course from their intended destination, they act to first successfully weather the storm and then to replot their course to achieve their desired destination. Like those captains, when leaders are reviewing performance regularly it enables them to make any needed adjustments before an issue gets too big and to get back on course to the goal.

Good leaders have regular performance and development discussions with their employees. Knowing the goals they want to accomplish, having regular discussions with them about progress towards those goals, removing obstacles and not holding them back enables success through more engaged and productive employees.

Individually, if you practice the tactic of reviewing your own performance regularly, objectively noting accomplishments and areas for improvement, you will always be on top of what you need to do to be successful in achieving your own goals, both personally and professionally. You can adjust where needed to avoid pitfalls you have experienced in the past and you can repeat successful approaches.

Always keep track of your top five accomplishments
In my roles of leader, mentor and coach, the advice I give is to keep a running list of your top three to five accomplishments. If you always have that list top of mind, it can help you in performance discussions with your boss, in interviews for a new position, and can be motivating when you are facing a particularly difficult challenge.

In an earlier Almanac blog post I talked about self-affirmation and the magic of having a “love me drawer” that was filled with accolades you receive so that when you’re having a bad day, you can open that drawer or file and remind yourself of all the good you have done. Tracking performance is a closely related cousin to this other practice but with implications not only for you and your team’s well-being but for your future. When you look back and celebrate you can then look forward and plot a better course ahead. The improvements may surprise you.

If you would like more leadership tactics like this one you can find them at www.seasonsleadership.com/almanac.

Get more leadership insights to help your team succeed:

The Most Organized Leader Manages Priorities

Recognizing ‘Monkey Business’ Helps Defining Work Boundaries

Image Ales Krivec, unsplash

Debbie Collard has 30+ years of leadership experience. She served on the National Baldrige Foundation Board of Directors for 15 years, including as the first female Chair of the Board. She is an iPEC- and ICF-Certified Professional Coach and co-author of The Making of a World- Class Organization, a practical guide for leaders to engage employees and increase profitability. debbiecollard.com

Join Our Community

Thank you for joining our community!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Most Recent Posts

See All

Embrace the Season of Fall

We have key questions and inspiration for your leadership journey in our fall newsletter. Co-Founder Susan Ireland shares reflections and what defines this season of leadership.

Read More

Three Mentorship Relationships to Pursue for Success

We believe there are three mentorship relationships you should consider seeking out: experienced, peer and early career. All three will offer you different perspectives and opportunities for growth.

Read More

Nurture Relationships with Mentors to Accelerate Growth

You need a mentor and not just one but several. At Seasons Leadership, we define a mentor as someone with expertise and experience who will share their knowledge, skills, experience, and network to support the mentee further their career and develop capabilities.

Read More

Resources

Are you wanting to learn more before you dive in? We created these tools to help support your growth and success. Whether you join our yearlong program or simply use these resources on your own, we're honored to be a part of your ongoing development.

Bad Bosses

While there are definitely bad bosses out there, luckily most bosses want to be good bosses and to do the right things. How would you rate yourself as a boss?

Download

Community & Relationships

When we develop relationships, we build community. To do this intentionally and with purpose results in a conscious community that can nurture each other and “rise” together. That’s why it is important!

Download

Leadership & Principles

Do you know what your values are? Do you have an explicit set of operating principles for your team or organization? If not, it is never too late to get started!

Download

Relationship Matrix

Even if nurturing relationships is easy for you, to successfully network, one helpful practice is to create a “Relationship Matrix.” The matrix is a list of people that you want to build and nurture a relationship in business with.

Download

Goal Setting

Are you the person who intends to accomplish a goal next year but “next year” keeps sliding to … the next year? We have a better way to set you up for success!

Download