Chances are if you’ve been working at your company long enough, you’ve developed some fantastic ideas for growth and improvement. No matter what department you’re in, there is always room for growth, and inevitably there are those big beautiful dreams that get talked about wistfully but with no real commitment.
You know what I’m talking about: those pipe-dream projects, ideas that would be amazing if only there were *fill in the blank* to make it happen.
Every company has at least one of these projects. Take a moment to think about your company. What projects has everyone agreed would be fantastic if only there were…
- enough time
- enough human resources
- someone with the experience
- add excuse here
…to make it happen.
You might be feeling a little defensive thinking, “Those aren’t excuses if they are real issues getting in our way.”
Let me tell you something. There will always be real issues that stand in the way of getting a project successfully implemented. What makes them excuses is the switch from seeing them as challenges to reasons not to proceed.
Reframe the problem
While there may be plenty of challenges created by a big project that has halted it in its tracks, those problems often stem from one source. Not enough time, not enough people, not enough experience, are all results of looking at a project from a macro point of view.
What. What? How is a lack of time connected to my point of view? And why would my point of view affect my resources?
When you dream up a big project—improving your customer experience, for instance—you see every aspect that needs work. You see the processes to be developed, templates, emails, updated web pages, and follow-up campaigns. You see new training for the sales team and the audit of what you already have.
What you see is a birds-eye-view of the entire project—all the work, all at once. Who has time and energy to do all that? No one.
Now let’s experiment. Pick one aspect of that project—we’ll use customer follow-up for this example. To get the ball rolling, write one follow-up email for customers who’ve tried a specific product, taken a quiz, or attended a webinar. Easy enough, right? You have time in your day to write one email.
Now save that email to use repeatedly.
And just like that, you see the problem. It isn’t that you don’t have the time or the workforce; it’s that you’ve been looking at the project from a wide-angle point of view.
Whether you’re a one-person company or have 100 people on your team, this process can be applied almost every time. Start by creating your big picture. Write down all the beautiful things you want to complete—don’t be stingy. Include your goals for each part of the project. What are you trying to accomplish?
Now step back. Take a nice long look at the whole thing and pick one aspect to start. The trick is to break it up into bite-sized pieces and spread it out over a reasonable amount of time.
You don’t have to do everything all at once. In fact, you really can’t. So don’t try. Set small, achievable goals.
Use each small step as a brick in the tower of your dreams. Don’t allow yourself to become bogged down by the greatness of what you imagine. Every great accomplishment is built out of a thousand small achievements.
So go ahead, dream big. Just do yourself a favor and start small.
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Photo by Yuliya Rosher