At one time, I managed technology projects. Sure, we always started with a goal, but with rapid advancements in technology and evolving client needs, the end result wasn’t always what our team of engineers predicted. We experienced a constant storm of changing requirements along with political limitations and budget constraints. Yet, we were responsible for one very important goal: empowering the client with state-of-the-art business and technological tools, quickly and with excellence.
Of course, that simple goal required so much more: business acumen, technical design, data migration, process adaptation, documentation, training, and ongoing support… Oh, the list goes on! Distractions abound in that environment, just as they do in any work environment. Chris McChesney, in his book The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals, writes about achieving goals in the midst of distraction: competing requests, moving targets, and real life. He called these everyday demands, whirlwinds!
When you work on that many goals, you actually work on none of them, because the amount of energy you can put into each one is so small, it’s meaningless. ~ Chris McChesney
So, how do you really get any important work done? McChesney writes “Rule #1: No team focuses on more than two WIGs at the same time.” A WIG is a wildly important goal. You might know your WIG as the “reason you are alive” or the “sole purpose of your business”. WIGs must be executed while whirlwinds swirl about. Sounds crazy– but it works! Here are few things to consider:
- Small Steps Count: It doesn’t take 24 hours a day to accomplish most WIGs. Make forward progress by dedicating regular blocks of time to achieving results specifically related to your WIG, especially when things seem out of control!
- Own the Challenge: It can be easier (or safer) to work the whirlwind rather than the WIG. Don’t be tempted to opt out of hard work because of other distractions!
- Accept the Confusion: You might look crazy sitting in a calm strategy meeting when you are surrounded by chaos! Initially, employees (and family members) might not understand the importance of your WIG related efforts.
- Interrupt the Storm: Get comfortable interjecting WIG activities, especially when other team members are distracted by unproductive whirlwind tasks.
If my former project team was completely distracted from our goal, the results of our effort would have amounted to screen saver settings rather than a business solution that set the bar for an entire industry. What is your Wildly Important Goal? Remember, you can only pick one… What or who are your whirlwinds? Get a plan in place; I’d love to help!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michelle Sugerman (PMP, PCC) is a speaker, author, and leadership coach with Leading Synergies. She hosts global masterminds, called Synergy Groups, for REALLY BUSY Christians leading with powerful confidence and humble hearts. She works with high-performing leaders focused on organizational effectiveness by refining strategy, inspiring teams, and delighting clients. Michelle specializes in the areas of information technology, project management, franchise management, and business as mission. Michelle lives in Colorado where she hikes fourteeners and enjoys gourmet meals with her loving husband of 21 years.