Over the last couple of weeks, I have heard myself saying a similar phrase to three or four different clients: What is going to be the shortest route to success? My goal in asking this is to stop and perform a simple gut check. Are we standing in our own way? Proposing this question can compel our entire team to re-examine our goals, to identify what success looks like, and to focus on the key components that have impact.
Often times creatives (myself completed included) are great at coming up with big, beautiful ideas that can grow and spread as they move along a project. Or (if you're also like me), sometimes getting things exactlyright can actually become the enemy of getting things done. It's tempting to push deadlines to accommodate some of those flashy new ideas, or expand plans based on what we think our businesses might need in the future. As marketing strategists, we are big supporters of robust plans when it comes to any project, but there is always a tiny moment when we have to pull back and ask ourselves if we are still on the right side of making progress.
The reality is, sometimes momentum is the kindest gift you can give your project. Iterating in a vacuum doesn't allow you to learn or to get feedback from your biggest asset, your customers. And while it can be cringeworthy to think about learning while you go, the alternative can be to spend a lot of time working on something that doesn't ultimately serve you.
When you have a project that seems to be growing under your feet, here are some questions you can ask yourself to make sure you're making progress:
1. What are the fewest requirements I need to consider this project finished? Identifying these things will help you focus on what is necessary and what is nice to have.
2. Can this piece of the project be better served with live feedback from customers? Remember, in this digital world, mostly everything can be edited. Webpages can be added, communication strategies can shift.
3. Is adding in this new component going to push my deadline? If so, is it going to give me a more successful end product? The answer to this will tell you if you're being tempted by a shiny bell-and-whistle, or if the new idea is worth implementing now.
4. What are three things that I can finish by the end of the day TODAY that are going to move me toward that goal of "Finished"? Momentum is our friend. By identifying small milestones to check off, it gets you excited to stay the course and finish strong.
If you have a project that has grown too big, or you have lost sight of the path to success, let us know! We offer coaching sessions that help our clients think through their goals and identify the milestones to get there.
What projects are you working on? And are there things that are disguised as priorities, but really are bells and whistles? Let us know in the comments below.
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