Status is the current condition of the activity you are managing. Having an accurate read on the status of your key items is no easy task. It is always helpful to be from Missouri (show me) when it comes to assessing the status of key priorities. Useful questions include:
- Is it completely done or partially done? Make sure you know what the other person really means when you ask if something is done and they say yes. In your mind you are picturing a completed task and perhaps they actually meant almost. That’s a recipe for a train wreck if it’s a really important task and you are making other plans based on it. A useful habit is to ask about the status of the components of the task and see if they are complete; always test for evidence. If not, you have your answer.
- Is all of the data available consistent with the status assessment? In other words, if what you are seeing is different than what you are being told, you should check a little more. More likely than not, if your observations and anecdotes are inconsistent with the feedback you are getting, the feedback is wrong. Test for evidence.
- Is it too good to be true? Don’t let your heart take the place of your head for important tasks. Reality may not be what you want but it’s better to have an accurate read than believing in the tooth fairy. Delaying your understanding doesn’t help anything.
A test for evidence that the task is complete is a fundamental part of getting an accurate assessment of your status.