(Read this post in 45 seconds)
Stop. Start. Hurry up and wait. Yes, no, maybe – repeat in any order.
What gets in the way of making progress?
Here are the major culprits:
- Waiting for ideal conditions. With this affliction, you don’t have to worry about the start/stop cycle because you never get started. But you know what? Conditions will almost never be ideal. Better to figure out the right conditions rather than the ideal conditions. And when you have the right conditions, do not hesitate. Act!
- Lack of clarity, precision and focus. Too much confusion around the Why, What, How and Who leads to detours to explain, re-explain, clarify and re-clarify. This creates a vicious cycle that delays progress and leads to diminishing confidence and morale, which then requires more explaining, which only raises more questions and further diminishes confidence — you get the picture.
- Incessantly feeding an impossibly large consensus. How much support do you need to act? Zero is likely the wrong answer, as is unanimity. It isn’t easy to determine the critical mass of support that enables you to launch. But if you over-estimate the consensus you need, and then begin the wooing process, you’re likely to be become paralyzed in perpetual consensus courtship and never act.
- Misalignment of human and financial resources. At least 75% of your resources should be directed to your most important priorities. If you haven’t resourced your planning process, what kind of plan will you draft (hint: the kind of plan that lacks clarity, precision and focus). And if plan execution is under-resourced, how do you expect to achieve it? Absent a miracle, the under-resourced action plan stands little chance. Yes, miracles do happen, but they’re not a substitute for proper alignment of human resources.
If the start/stop syndrome is plaguing your organization (or you), think about what and who determines success. With your success determinants guiding you, focus your energy and align your resources to conquering the determinants.