An employee of one of my clients wanted to talk to me about a project he was assigned. He had made no progress on it for over 90 days. Something was holding him back. He opened the conversation by saying “I don’t think I can do this.”
I began asking questions.
Within a few minutes, we identified the project didn’t have a natural home with any one person or department. It required customer communication, technical know-how, and an understanding of the company’s products and services. However, the team member assigned the project had all the skills and knowledge needed.
Something else was going on. Actually, several things were keeping him stuck in the starting blocks.
He was busy with his daily tasks and the urgent requests that dropped in his lap. FranklinCovey refers to this as the “whirlwind of the day-to-day.” The Urgent was prioritized over the Important.
He had let the project languish for so long, he was tired of reporting to the leadership team that he had made no progress. He let doubt about his ability to do the project creep into his own mind as well as the management team’s.
The longer he put the project off, the more daunting it became.
After some discussion, we came to a realization: either he truly couldn’t do the project, or he didn’t know how to start. I told him we wouldn’t know which case was true until he actually tried to do it.
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.”
I helped him break down the project into a series of small tasks and milestones. We identified natural checkpoints to verify he was on the right track. Suddenly, the project didn’t seem so scary. It wasn’t looming over him.
He had a plan. He had someone to hold him accountable. He became excited about actually tackling the project. He began working on it.
What’s holding you back from beginning a project or making a change you need to make?