A question has been bothering me recently: “For all of the projects on my plate, what is the next move when I am done?” In other words, is the current project a stepping stone to a new challenge? Does it free up resources, whether financial or time-based that I can put to better use in the future….or am I simply checking the box to get an assignment done because I was tagged to a project team.
Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely key performance metrics that are handed out top down. But those goals can be a drag if you cannot connect your work to something bigger with longer term results. For anyone working in a publically listed company, you understand full well the short term pressures of hitting the quarter. But while we certainly have obligations to meet such goals, having a long view for new opportunities that can emerge from our current work and projects is important to keep in mind. Here are three questions, I have been using to better understand my next moves:
- Is there a “+1” result?
- On my team we talk about +1’s as indirect goals (or by-products) that will come from a project. For example, perhaps you are working on a project targeting savings. But as you analyse the solution you realize you can reduce lead times, and improve cash flow…..both are +1’s
- Understand the why of the project
- Is the project intended to drive increased business? If so, does that open the door to new solutions that I can work on later. Allow yourself time to step back and see new connections for future work.
- What could I do if this project were to free up 10% of my time per week?
- You can switch time for any potential benefit. But sometimes seeing into the distance requires us to hold ourselves accountable to push in a new direction. If you could save 10% of your hours per week, could you do additional external research? Call five high potential clients? Ask someone to mentor you? If you don’t see the possibilities, you will never reach to capture them.
So are your projects a stepping stone to free up resources to do bigger or more strategic projects? If not, take a moment to step back and understand what the real benefits are…
Here’s this week’s 5 for 5 articles:
“But how can you be sure?” – by Seth Godin – via @thisissethsblog
SO WHAT: If you want to make a difference, you need to embrace the discomfort in not being 100% sure.
Tags: Courage, Bravery
To Be Your Best Self, Be Less Busy – by Dani Kreeft – via the Holstee blog on Medium
SO WHAT: Ties in well with this week’s 5for5 post…..is your work eliminating excess and noise to allow you to focus.
Tags: Simplify, Focus
What Successful People Know About Winning – by John Maxwell – via John Maxwell.com
SO WHAT: Embrace your “losses” as an opportunity to learn.
How To Master The Art Of Taking Better Notes – by Laura Vanderkam – via Fast Company
SO WHAT: While it may seem like a bad college flashback, taking notes by hand is critically important to remembering material.
12 Habits of Exceptional Leaders – by Travis Bradberry – via Inc.
SO WHAT: The best post I read all week. Print this one out. Re-read often.
All the best,