Had some great learnings last week. Picture this. You've put your strategic plan together, and your team is busy doing the right things. All is going according to plan: everyone's engaged, and you're making good progress. Then BAM out of nowhere, this neat little idea shows up. And it's good. It's a risky but potentially fantastic opportunity with a new customer. Or it's a new technology platform that is gaining momentum and requires some significant cycles for an evaluation. Or it's a novel new approach to solving a common business problem that has been plaguing the team and requires some serious investigation.
So where's the problem? That sounds like a regular work week in my office. But Patrick Thean helped us figure it out. The problem is that cute little idea is pulling you off plan. Chasing that butterfly is taking valuable cycles away from you reaching your goals, as you gaze and flit about trying to catch it. And it's slowly going to put your strategic plan in jeopardy, because you won't be getting that time back.
We're dealing with butterflies all the time. I swear that some days we live in a butterfly exhibit at a zoo. That's not a bad thing in itself - some of our greatest successes have and will come from ideas that started out as butterflies. But from here on out, if they're not on the strategic plan, we're putting them on the butterfly list. They will be part of the tests for our plan. There is a finite amount of energy we can spend achieving our work goals. Saying “no” to the distractions is a resounding vote and validation of our goals. And a more powerful way of saying “yes, absolutely yes” to the ones we’re shooting for.