Setting an initiative up for success takes time, as it is not something that happens automatically. The great thing about time investment is that it does pay off. Similar to compounding interest with invested money, putting in the time to ensure a project will launch smoothly will help you reach your end goal and guarantees that it continues working efficiently in the future.
Say you are interested in starting a blog for the company and your goal by the end of the year is to have three months of blogs uploaded on your site ahead of time. Perhaps you want to set up a monthly accounting process at the company that is performed accurately and on time with minimal managerial intervention. These are both possible goals to have. Although they may not be easy, all it takes is an investment of time and effort.
Steps for Investing
1. Set a Goal
To reach a destination, it is important first to know where you would like to go. Although you may have a broad idea of the objective, it is helpful to have a measurable goal, which should include timing and quantities to ensure your destination is 100% clear.
In the blog example above, the goal might look like this:
By the end of a year, develop a system whereby the company’s weekly blogs are uploaded and ready to be published three months ahead of time.
Once the goal is clear, everything you need to do to get there will be obvious. In other words, the gaps between where you are and where you need to go will become clearer.
As the steps for reaching your goal begin to become apparent, write them down, and make a plan. The ideas might be messy at first, but just writing them can bring about more lucidity. Try to arrange them into a plan with logical steps and dates.
The more detailed it is, the more likely your project will launch. When establishing the strategy, also include the design of the structure you will set up so that the project is automatic and sustainable in the long-term. This structure might include hiring people, setting up processes, and investing in systems.
Design it so that the system is resilient with redundancies if possible so that if something fails, the entire structure won’t fall apart. Be sure also to try to work out any issues or problems you can foresee at the design phase where it will be much easier to alter the way things are set up. It’s much simpler to make changes on paper than when things are already in motion.
3. Setting up the Structure
Follow your plan, and start creating a permanent scheme. The more complex the undertaking, the more pieces will need to come together. Set aside the time to make sure the new structure is set up well. In this phase, you may learn that some of the steps on your plan were harder or easier to achieve than anticipated. The plan may have to be altered, but all is well if the new steps take you to the destination.
4. Trial and Error
Allowing room for learning is crucial. The project will never come out perfectly on the first try, which is completely normal. Iteration is extremely important to come up with the best possible system.
When I started hiring freelancers to help me publish my blog, I didn’t know what I needed. I went through three hiring processes until I found my current blog manager, Violeta, who is wonderful and full of experience. I’m glad I went through this phase of experimentation because I would have never otherwise found her.
One of the constants of life is that nothing stays the same, and to stay current, processes and systems need to be updated regularly. Regulations, requirements, and team members are constantly changing. Additionally, to stay on top of our game, we need to innovate continuously. Keeping a critical mind and looking for ways to improve are always healthy practices.
Investing effort produces ample returns. Spending the time upfront to set everything up that needs to will make a big difference in the returns you will obtain from the projects you embark upon. The structures you build today can pay off in the weeks, months, and years to come. Your future self with thank you.