A few weeks ago I had lunch with Jonathan Schwartz, CEO of Sun Microsystems. Since it was an off the record conversation, it didn’t show up on the blog. However, he did say something that has stuck in my mind and has become a daily mantra for me.
“Don’t confuse activity for progress,” he said, offering that as a piece of advice to a first time entrepreneur. It is such a simple sermon, yet so hard to adhere to. Chris Michel, Founder & CEO of Affinity Labs in this essay about outcomes and activity (similar theme) confesses that it took him ten years to figure out who to focus on outcomes, and why all activity is a means to an outcome.
“Outcomes, in this context, means a certain, generally measurable, end result — and one that matters a great deal,” he writes. “Activities, however, are a set of tactics that are used to achieve that outcome.”