Posts tagged “Start with Why


Posted on August 15, 2015


I like to talk about alignment with my clients. Know your objective, method and end-state. Don’t work at cross-purposes. Make aligned choices. Etc. While it’s great that purpose is being discussed more frequently, it’s a constant challenge to limit the drift toward corporate propaganda. What is tactical enough to guide real action AND honest? Save the world? Provide net positive value? Obey the law? Go home happy? More money for everybody, as one of my clients says frequently? Something else? “There’s always a good reason and a real reason.” –James Altucher *

Next Steps

Posted on April 25, 2014


A simple heuristic for identifying next steps: Set a vision of your desired end result, including the why Ask “and how will I do that?” Repeat step 2 until you define a task that can be done in the next 30 minutes Do it This approach clearly aligns activities to the desired end result and helps differentiate what can be controlled with what cannot.  So many people have broad aspirations with no clearly defined path to achieve them. So many organizations have ongoing activities that do not connect to tangible results. Aligned steps lead to progress. *

The Flawed Logic of Activity

Posted on April 11, 2014


One of my project teams is currently in a whirl of activity. Overseas flights, two-a-day site visits and team discussions pack the calendar. The standard scheduling response is the week after next. In the midst of all of this activity, very little is actually being accomplished. Few decisions are made, designs are not moving forward and teams are becoming less coordinated. Don’t confuse activity with progress. Continuously connect current activities to desired future outcomes. Trips, meetings and other measures of busyness are means to an end, not statistics to be praised in isolation. *

All Too Familiar

Posted on January 12, 2014


A client requests bids for ten non-negotiable outputs. One bidder is selected for the ten, and project work begins. Time passes. The client stops one day and says, “Tell me again why we’re doing eight and nine?” This scenario is all too familiar. As administrative as project charters sound, as time consuming as business cases seem and as contrived as guiding principles appear, completing them up front may crystallize the why and provide the framework for future activities. *

Start with Why

Posted on April 12, 2013


I attended a project team session this week for a client that has been working on an improvement program for over a year. Over halfway through the two-hour discussion (my first with the team), a project leader said, “You know, while we’re talking about our project routines, we really should define what this program is and is not.” He went on to share that the project goals, duration and outcomes were all ambiguous resulting in confusion, lack of progress and a generally poor work environment (some weeks I’m a project priest hearing confession). You have to start with why. Why are we doing this? Why are we doing this today? Simon Sinek calls it the golden circle. For improvement projects, it often relates to…