"Quality questions create a quality life. Successful people ask better questions, & as a result, they get better answers." ~Tony Robbins
"To succeed, one must be creative and persistent." ~John H. Johnson
When we try to make improvements or implement a new process there will be times where we discover that there are certain obstacles that legitimately prohibit us from moving forward. Unfortunately, this can mistakenly create a perpetual roadblock where we don’t reassess the obstacles in the future. Instead we say, “Well we tried that before and it won’t work.” But in the ever changing business environment that is often not the case. I am positive that there have been a number of changes in your organization, and there’s a good chance that some of those affect those obstacles you ran into before.
So think back to your last few projects or initiatives that stopped because of some sort of obstacle and instead of dismissing it out of hand, ask yourself what has changed that could impact the successful completion? A couple of the common complaints:
“That’s the way we’ve always done it”
- New People – Have you brought people onto your team that might have (as Liam Neeson says) “a particular set of skills” that addresses the obstacle or makes it easier to overcome. Maybe you’ve expanded the size of your team. If you have some fresh talent then you may have a new weapon to overcome that obstacle.
- New Tools – Similar to new people, you may have new tools, new systems, new procedures, new floor layout, etc. Again, look back on the changes to your department and organization and you may find the key to success.
- New Market – Has your business expanded into new markets? If you’re in a new market you have most likely needed to change some things to satisfy it. Have any of these changes in products, service and procedures addressed the root cause of the obstacle.
“We don’t have the resources”
- No time – Not having enough time is all about priorities. It may be that priorities have changed. It also may be that things have sped up or slowed down depending on the need.
- No money – Things get cheaper, spare parts become available, job responsibilities evolve, priorities change, revenue grows. All of these things happen regularly. Did any of them help your cause?
- No experience – Our experience grows over time. You are a wiser and more experienced leader now than you were 6 months ago. Also, you may have hired in some of the experience you need since you last reviewed the obstacle.
So don’t just try once and leave it in the junk yard of improvement ideas. Periodically take a look and reassess the obstacle and the things surrounding it. Truthfully, I keep a “hit list” of a few improvement I would just love to see implemented, but can’t right now for a variety of reasons (some of them listed above). I limit it to a few so that I can have them in the forefront of my mind so that when I see an opportunity to address an obstacle I can jump on it and I don’t miss it.
Your best ideas don’t always work out, but you shouldn’t give up after only one try. Just because it doesn’t work out once, doesn’t mean it can’t work out eventually if the circumstances change (and circumstances are ALWAYS in a state of change)
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