What makes or breaks a project? The beginning—the VISION. Typically, the team is well meaning and the idea is great, but more than anything else, the project must have Goals, must have Values, and most importantly, must have a VISION.
Why You Need a VISION
Flour, baking soda, eggs, sugar, and chocolate. What can these five things make together? Well, they could make brown mush. If we simply mixed them together without paying attention to the recipe or taking calculated steps, we would probably end up with a mixture resembling brown oatmeal.
However, when we start with the end in mind, we can create something magnificent—chocolate chip cookies. Before any baker generates a masterpiece, he starts with some picture in mind. Within no time, we have a satiating, melt-in-your-mouth dessert.
The same goes for any project we take on. As the bakers or masterpiece chefs, we may have all of the ingredients: a team & resources on our hands. However, before we can move forward on a project, we must first DEFINE a SHARED VISION that we can articulate to all stakeholders. The vision, goals, & plan come first. After that, each step we take reinforces the previously defined mission. By defining the end goal, the process in between becomes easier and more focused.
How to Create a Project Vision & Plan
Keep It SIMPLE
Many project managers write fancy vision statements with all sorts of big words. It looks pretty, right? That may be a good formula for poetry, but when you are developing a project where team members need to work towards a common goal, SIMPLE is best. SIMPLE is gold. The most important part of the vision is to be able to communicate it to all of your team members. From there, your team members must be able to share it with people outside the team, and so on. Use plain language and be brief, while thoroughly articulating your message.
Make the Vision ACHIEVABLE
Being bold is fantastic. Setting high goals and diligently working towards them is what makes many HIGH PERFORMERS consistently successful. However, when we set standards that are too high, our team may become discouraged if we come up short. This can have all sorts of side effects, but most significantly, it can damage team morale. The performance may have been in the right direction, but because it did not favorably compare to the lofty goals, teams can view their results as failure. Rather, work collaboratively to create visions that are substantial, yet reachable.
Build a Great TEAM
The vision may come first, but the team to support that vision is a close second. Find people who match your vision for the project. Be open about your expectations. Work with people who have a unique skillset that can offer movement to the project. A vision is a phenomenal start, but we must have great people to take action and push a project forward.
Get Your Team INVOLVED
Creating a vision that can be shared with & appreciated by others attracts the commitment & energy of your team members. With each action they take, your team will feel PURPOSEFUL and UNDERSTAND their job. They can see a future, though we are always in the present. By communicating a vision and sharing goals, teams can stay ahead of the game and be accountable.
Develop a CLEAR PLAN
After you have clearly defined your vision, create a plan that reinforces that vision & provides a roadmap for your team. The BEST TIME FRAME for a project is 24 MONTHS. Our world, business, and technology are changing far too rapidly for the timeline to be any longer. Make the plan activity-based, highlighting the tasks relevant to achieving your vision.
Set Quarterly MILESTONES
You do not want to be in a position one year from commencement, realizing that you have wasted a ton of time and steered off onto the wrong path. Set goals for every 90 days and assess your progress. It is okay to be behind, as long as you know you are behind. From there, you can take action to make up for lost performance or you can reevaluate your goals to see if they were too lofty.
Be an AWARD-WINNING Baker
Assembling your team, generating a plan, and gathering resources are all important components of Project Management. However, without a picture in her mind, even the best chef can only piece together a lumpy mixture of ingredients. Start with a VISION, an END IN SIGHT, and from there, create a masterpiece worthy of recognition.
About Brendan P. Keegan
Brendan P. Keegan is Founder & Managing Partner of velocityHUB, a leading management consulting firm. He is a 5-time industry leading President & CEO of large, private-equity-backed companies and served as the Fortune 100’s youngest Chief Sales Officer for EDS, a $22-billion technology industry leader. Brendan has raised nearly $1.0 billion in capital and returned over $2.2 billion to investors through successful exit strategies. He has trained over 100,000 leaders, led nearly 50,000 employees, driven sales of over $100 billion and worked globally in over 150 countries. Brendan was named a Distinguished Fellow by Dartmouth College, a Fast50 Executive by FastCompany, a successful entrepreneur by Enterprise Bank, Best-of-the-Best CEOs by Incentive, 100 Fastest Growing Companies by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Business of the Year by NH Business Journal, Top 10 Coach of the Year by USA Football, and Volunteer of the Year by & Youth Coach of the Year locally for his commitment to community service. Brendan is a sought-after speaker by companies across the globe on leadership, sales and performance. He has authored over 200 articles and been published in global publications including the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Business Week, Fast Company and InformationWeek.
Brendan serves on corporate boards to include Revolution Armor, Merchants Auto Group, ExpressIt Delivery, Olaeris, velocityHUB and nashuaHUB. Brendan and his wife Dana founded the Keegan Courage & Faith Foundation with the goal of giving back $1.0 million for youth education, athletics and at-risk youth across Southern New Hampshire.
velocityHUB delivers results-oriented training programs, high-value consulting and targeted executive coaching to many of the world’s leading companies, small and medium businesses, and non-profits. Our vision is to build one million leaders to drive performance, sales and revenue growth.
Contact: Amanda E Rogers | 603.402.1734 | firstname.lastname@example.org