I love to execute. I love to jump into something where I know how it works, I know what’s going to happen, I see it through and get the results I expected. I love to execute. But what about when I’m executing something new? What about executing a goal I’ve had for a few years and I’ve failed just as long? Execution on tasks like this is a different bird. Execution is uncertain. If I’m honest, execution doesn’t even get a fair shot.
So what needs to change? I’ve published my goals for 2014 and I know they are important. They will get me where I want to go. They not only benefit me, they benefit my family. As it sits right now, I’m motivated to make these goals a reality. The reality, though, is that some of these goals are pretty big. Big enough that I failed in the past. I don’t want that to happen again. What do I do differently?
Instead of the mountain of a goal in front of me, I need to think about President Jed Bartlett. What? You’ve never heard of him? He’s the main character from the West Wing, a show that enjoyed seven seasons of Emmy award-winning honors and a cult following. President Bartlett was famous for saying, “What’s next?” He had big decisions in front of him, he had big meetings to conduct, big conversations to navigate. But he understood that the fundamental question to ask when big things need to happen is this: what’s next?
This week at church Matt Metzger was talking about living our lives in such a way that we pursue rules for Godly living. This is not a religious post, though. It’s a post about taking steps. Watch this video from 32:55-36:22.
Step one of this blog series was to identify the big goals for the year. Step two is to understand that we reach these goals by executing a number of small steps. What are those steps? I can’t launch my wellness program until I survey the employees to determine their interests. I can’t compete in an olympic triathlon until I train for a certain number of days in the pool, on the bike, and in my running shoes. Every project, every goal has a next step. Not a finished product, a fast track. But a next action step (as David Allen would call it) to move closer to the end game.
It’s a big task, but this week I’ve drafted every project (all the big ones, most of the small) and figured out the next action step on each project. This helps focus our daily efforts which in turn helps us conceptualize our place in the bigger picture of accomplishing these goals, finishing these projects.
As Jim Collins says, great work requires great discipline. This week I’m finishing a disciplined process to convert my big goals into manageable next action steps.