There are 3 essential aspects to any personal or business projects:
- You have to be clear about the vision (what you want / what the company wants)
- You have to know how you will get there (you need a strategy and plan)
- You have to deal with the human side of things (your personal hang ups or resistance to change in organisations).
Only using management techniques of scoping and planning is not enough. The same is true of only dealing with the people side of things with coaching or personal development. Change is holistic and to succeed all aspects have to be dealt with.
In a recent interview, I was asked whether my book Make It Fly! was about project management and why I included this entire section about personal development? The truth is Make It Fly does include project management techniques but it’s an holistic method. It also includes techniques from organisational change management, personal development, NLP, coaching, etc. The method has been design to deal with process and emotions.
Often, as demonstrated by my interview example, we focus on a narrow aspect of change. In this case on the process followed to change, for example attending a course or attending Weight Watchers, without dealing with the emotional side. Unfortunately both are necessary.
Change is Holistic
I’m going to repeat this again: change is holistic. Often, when the change actually happens, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what made the difference. Was it the clarity of vision? The great strategy and plan? Or the fact that we managed to convince everyone to go for it? Chances are, it will be all of those things.
Always remember this and don’t get swayed by what I call ‘functional experts’ who tell you that their discipline is more important. You need all the skills to succeed.
Change is about people
I attended a change management round table last year where they had done a survey of the attendees and asked them what mattered most when attempting to change an organisation. Imagine my dismay when ‘behavioural change’ was rated extremely low by all members. To believe that you can change anything without dealing with people is to set yourself up for failure.
Of course, it is possible to change behaviour by changing the environment but you have to consciously set out to do this. You have to tell yourself: ‘I know there will be resistance when we do this so we will use a change in structure to deal with it’. By change in structure I mean things like knocking the walls down in an office and going to an open plan set up to encourage more communication or, only buying healthy food at home to encourage healthy eating.
Change ultimately is about people and dealing with human issues, however hard, has to be part of the work.
What does this mean to me and my vision?
Be prepared to work on all aspects. If you’re big dream is personal. For example, you want to write a book. You will need to be clear about the story. Yes, some writers let their imagination flow and the story emerge but they still start with a clear picture either of a character, a scene or an ending. There is a theme to their work and some clarity of direction to start with. Otherwise, the story would not hang together. If you are writing non-fiction, I would seriously advise having a clear list of all the chapters for your book before you start writing. You’ll need this anyway before you can pitch your book to an agent or editor.
You will then need an action plan. When will you write your book? A chapter a day? A chapter a week? 500 words every morning?
Then you will need to act on your plan and stick with it. This is where the human side of things come in: distractions, fears, limiting beliefs may all come in the way of your success. Thoughts that your book may not be good enough, that you may not be good enough. You will need to deal with these things.
What if my vision is a work project?
I believe that change at home and change at work is the same thing. It’s the scale that is different. You still have to clarify the vision and scope, to have a strategy and plan and to deal with your own resistance and that of others. It’s more complex but I would say it’s the same skills: visioning, leading, scoping, planning, problem solving, coaching, etc.
Thinking about your plans for 2014
Now thinking about your plans for 2014, have you covered all aspects? Are you crystal clear what each of your goals are about, how you will go about reaching them, what will stand in your way and how you’ll deal with that when it happens?
If you plan a big project for 2014, do get a copy of Make It Fly. It will guide you through the steps for each aspect: defining, planning and dealing with challenges. My eBook How to Plan should also be free on Amazon starting the 16 January. If you need help planning, do check it out.
So, what aspect of your goals and dreams are you most resistant to work on? Being clear? Planning? Dealing with resistance?