I love to start new things. There is something exciting about the new. I also find that it’s hard work to get something I start to the finish line.
The problem with my love of bright shiny objects is I often never spend the time and effort to finish a project. When this happens, I and those I work with never get the good stuff that comes with finishing.
Too many times I see people who should lead make choices that don’t serve the people they lead. This is something that I don’t want you to do. Read on to find out what you can do if you start, but don't finish enough projects.
It’s not starting that counts.
It’s easy to start a new project. There’s the promise of having something great happen. Too often I see people start and start and start, but never plan for how they will get to the next stage.
The value in any project is the middle and the end. All starting does is give you an idea if your idea is something that’s worthwhile doing. To get to where you receive the value of a project, you must finish. It’s that simple.
But Josh, don’t you talk about fail fast, fail cheap?
I do and fail fast, fail cheap allows you to leave something before you’ve put too much effort into the project. This is where you need to have a process to see if what you’re working on is something that will move the needle in your life.
Use the Stage 2 Decision process to make wise decisions.
Having a decision process will help you make better decisions. Before even starting a project make sure it has a reasonable chance for success and it will make your life better.
Here’s a process I’ve used for years and one that gets great results. I call it the Stage 2 Decision Process. It works like this:
- Start with an idea of something that you want to do. I call this the initial what stage.
- Dig down on why this is an important thing for you to do. You want to dig down on why at least five times before moving on to stage 3.
- Go back to look at what you’re trying to accomplish. This is where you get to ask is what you’re trying to do really going to get you the results you found when you dug down on why. Or, is there are more elegant way to get to your desired outcome?
- Now that you know what you want to do, ask yourself who will help you get there. This is especially important for those of us who love to start but not finish. To do anything worthwhile, you will need a team to work with you. Figure out who will be on that team and what everyone will do.
- Finally, think about how you will accomplish your project. This is where you determine what the tasks are that will get you to where you want to go.
Now that you know what, why, who and how you need a process.
It would be nice if you could just take all of those tasks you need and just throw them against the wall and they get done. Instead, think about using a process that efficiently helps you get to an outcome you will love.
I use a method called SCRUM to get to this point. Check out SCRUM and see if it’s a project management system you want to add to your life. Although the system was first designed for software development, it’s a great method to accomplish any project using less effort than the traditional way of planning where the whole project is planned at once.
Learning to say no to starting allows you the time to finish.
You’ve probably already figured out that getting a project that’s worthwhile to a successful finish is a lot of work. That’s why you need to make sure the project you’re about to start is worthwhile. You need to ask yourself does this make my life enough better that it’s worth the time and effort? If the answer is yes, move on.
If the answer no, this is where you get to use a word that most of us are not wild about. That word is no. There is nothing wrong with saying no. In fact, saying no can be a very satisfying experience. When you say no, you are giving yourself enough time to say yes to the right thing. The project where you will put in enough effort to get results you want.
Build a team that will get your project where you’ll get the value you deserve.
By now I hope you’ve figured out that you will need help. That means you will have to recruit others to help.
I don't want you to put names on where your help will come from yet. I want you to just figure out what roles you need to get your project to completion. If you’re building a house, you need different trades to get there. All projects are like that. The skill sets that you need for a successful project are always different.
Once you figure out what the skill sets are that you need then you can put names to the roles that you need. Starting with roles allows you to get the right person in the right seat for what you want to accomplish. Sometimes those people are within your own sphere and sometimes they’re not. When they’re not you have to go outside your own group to find the right person. The effort to do this just might be the difference between success and failure.
Get the reward you deserve.
When you limit the number and type of projects you work on, it’s almost a certainty you’ll get better results that taking on anything and everything that looks good. This is a case where less is more should be your mantra.
What do you think about saying no more often and using the Stage 2 Planning Method to hone in on the ideas and projects that will get you the best results? Why don’t you let me know in the comments below?