At the start of each year, many of us make our to-do list of things we want to accomplish. On that list, we often put many professional goals or areas we are hoping to grow in the new year. We start the year all excited with our lists and then…reality happens. Other priorities get in the way and we longingly look back at our list of “to dos” and wonder where the time is going.
Let’s try something different
With all our energy focused on all the things we want to do, we sometimes forget that part of being successful is letting go of some of the things we are doing. I’d like to give you a refreshing list that you might be able to “accomplish” this year…or more accurately, the things you should STOP doing if you want to have a more satisfying and productive year. I hope these tips give you a way to clear out some of the toxic activities that could be standing in the way of you being truly awesome and making a huge IMPACT.
- Putting yourself last
Putting yourself last may seem like the fastest and best option in the moment, we have all been there. In the long run, strategically it is important to take the time and make the investment to develop your skills. Many of us fall into the trap of excepting our employers to pay for developing our skills – you are responsible for your skills and marketability, both for your current employer and the next one. It’s time to put your name at the top of the priority list.
- Rescuing team members
We’ve all been there. The work is piling up. The deadlines are hovering over our heads and our project is behind schedule. It’s so tempting to just jump in and start rescuing the project to make sure that the ultimate outcomes are achieved. We want to be the hero and we know we are ultimately accountable for project success, but there are some big challenges that come with being the firefighter and rescuing our project team members when they aren’t getting their work done.
That is a big mistake. If you are busy rescuing team members, then your work isn’t getting done and you lose the ability to hold others accountable. This leads to the entire team functioning at a lower productivity level.
- Making things more complicated than necessary
Have you ever heard of the K.I.S.S. method? Keep it Super Simple. There is always a way to simplify your job, automate a process, take fewer steps to accomplish the same goal. This often starts with getting clarity around your role and what you are good at. Then take everything else and delegate or outsource it. Remember, you don’t have to do everything yourself.
Your value to the organization is directly tied to the results you achieve, not the number of projects you manage. Get serious about delivering IMPACT within your organization. Build your skills, make your career development a priority, take the work you are doing seriously. Go big.
You can’t really do it, none of us can. We think we can do it and everything suffers. Do you want to be known as the person that checked things off the list, but they were all poor quality or the one they can count on to deliver IMPACT? Trust me, when the important assignment comes around, they won’t be looking for the person that can partially meet the goal while doing 10 other things (also poorly). They will be looking for the person that they know can deliver, with laser focus, the outcomes they are looking to create.
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- Accepting unacceptable behaviors
Whether it’s the constant latecomer to meetings or the person that doesn’t deliver their work on time, you must stop allowing the behaviors. Remember, ignoring it is allowing it. Why is one bad apple such an issue? People will always push boundaries and if they see that someone is getting away with things, they will also do it. This leads to total breakdown in meetings, chaos on the projects, and a very frustrated you.
- Saying no
I don’t mean to say yes to everything your business or sponsor hands at you, but we need to think differently about our projects. For example, when they want to change scope, it’s because they want to add more value to the project. That scope change could be the difference between a system that gets used by the customer and one that is completely ignored.
System doesn’t get used = failed project, regardless of whether you were on time, budget, and scope when it gets delivered.
Our answer needs to be “Yes, and…” when we are asked about changes. Here’s how that sounds:
“Yes, you can have that new scope item, and here’s the IMPACT to the schedule and budget, as well as IMPACTS to the customer expectations.”
This feels so much better to the receiver because they feel heard and they can make an educated and informed decision about the outcome they wish to create and at what cost. Give them the control to make decisions and you do your job of educating them and ensuring that no one forgets all the decisions AND IMPACTS throughout the project.
- Holding onto toxic relationships
This one is a regular item on my annual to-do list and it certainly applies to us in our professional relationships, as well as personal. Think of all the time and energy you will save yourself, as well as heartache and headache if you stop letting the noise of those that are not helpful to you consume your energy.
Now, of course, you don’t always get to choose who you work with, so for the people you have no choice but to interact with, you can choose how you respond. We can choose to not let the annoying things people do impact how we feel or see the world. You just keep on doing your thing with a smile on your face and let their toxic energy roll right off you.
The bottom line is that there are many ways to accomplish goals this year, by stopping these 8 things you are paving the way to creating a much bigger IMPACT, personally and professionally
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