Sometimes when I am responsible for a large scope of work it can seem overwhelming. So much to track. So much to learn. So much I don’t know YET. But help is at hand, and if we break a process down to logical steps and apply three critical questions (they are more like tools) at each stage, we can know just what to do next.
In this era of technological connection, there is a lot of expertise ‘at hand’. People speak of a connection economy, and this is its currency. Things I don’t know are knowable, and the answers are available. And the help I need is out there.
Know that, and know that when process overwhelms us, we should be able to move by applying the answers to these three critical questions.
- What is the next action we need to take ? If we peel the onion of our journey toward outcome, we find a sequence of actions that get us to the circumstances for success. The roadmap here is simple: Working back from the outcome, what is the circumstance directly preceding that ? And what is the circumstance and step that leads to THAT ? Keep backing up until you arrive where you are. If you have done this prior to process, you have the map of your way points. Once process starts, always keep an eye and ear toward the next thing.
- What are the techniques we need to learn, that we can learn ? I feel like the byline then needs to have part 2: Off-load everything you can’t effectively learn. Inventory what knowledge gaps you have before process starts. Then, figure out what you can learn manageably, and delegate or sub contract the rest. This is key – You can’t learn it all. But you can create a network of expertise to support you.
- What is invisible and right in front of you ? Things can be invisible because they are hidden. They can also be invisible because they seem too big. Or worst of all, because we don’t want to see them. What detail have you not looked at ? What is hiding in plain sight ?What detail are you avoiding ? Head straight there, and root around until everything is in the light.
Remember, you don’t have to do it all, know it all, or see it all. But by using the key questions in a macro and moment to moment way, we can stack the deck for success.