Are you considering a new saddle, a new trainer, or a new horse? Are you planning to show your horse at an event, or even to organize a horse show of your own? Are you trying to find the right stallion Romeo for your mare Juliet? What you’re starting is a project, and – whether big or small – it pays to take a structured approach.
The few minutes spent considering some up-front questions can mean the difference between the satisfaction of success or the depths of disappointment. And the questions are as simple as what, when, why, who, and how.
Regardless of the venture, the right questions are:
What does it “look like” when it’s right? Picture yourself in the future – both short- and long-term – when the project will be finished. Where are you? What are you doing, wearing, seeing, experiencing? With whom? Is it a picture you like? Much of your happiness will be determined by how closely expectations resemble reality, so getting them right is one key to success.
When will this project be complete? Now’s the time to get out the calendar. Set the end date, so the intermediate steps can be plotted.
Why do this? Is the purpose for business? Pleasure? Both?
Who/what will be affected? Who are “they” by name or description? Two legs or four? In what ways will they benefit or be inconvenienced?
What is the scope of this project? What will it include? And just as important, what won’t it include?
Who will help? Every venture requires a team. Even emotional support counts. By name and role, who will make up the team and what will be the contribution of each? Will they be available and open to helping? (Be sure to ask.)
What can change or go wrong? This is one of the most important questions – and the one most often forgotten. Examining assumptions and identifying what might go wrong, or what might occur as an unexpected (not necessarily bad) consequence, can lead to contingency planning that can help ensure success.
What is the budget? What will the costs be? Will there also be revenue? Will the end product be worth the investment of money and time?
How will the project progress? Once the plan is in place and there’s agreement from team about all of the above, it’s time to implement. You’re the leader, so you’ll need to manage the details. Be sure to praise team members – and give them credit – for meeting their commitments and helping to reach the goal.
Celebrate! Even if your project doesn’t turn out exactly as planned, you’re smarter and more experienced. Rejoice in the lessons learned, and “get back on the horse.”
Tresa Eyres is a San Francisco-based learning and development consultant. She is the co-developer of SNAPP – the simple, repeatable, and sustainable five-step process to making the right things happen in business and life. She is the co-author of three business books. She devotes the majority of her time and expertise to helping people reach their career and life goals. Contact Tresa: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, 415-564-5763, www.eyresconsulting.com/tresa.html.