In This Episode…
In today’s episode I explore this perennial question about how long things take. When I find myself taking much longer than expected I am faced with a conundrum of what to do. In this episode I share my thoughts and reveal a potential answer to this often troubling question.
Hi and welcome to today’s episode of the Profit Productivity Podcast. It’s your host, Michael Tipper. Who else would it be?
Now today’s episode is going to be called “What Happens When Things Take Much Longer Than Expected?
Now I take great pleasure in defining a goal, putting together a plan of action, and then working on that plan of action to get things done . The joy and satisfaction I get from immersing myself in the work necessary to put together something is rewarding.
It might be designing a new training course, writing a new book, solving a problem, or just doing some research and understanding something. I really do enjoy that immersion and making those breakthroughs.
However, the biggest pain I have from applying myself to things like this is that things like this often take longer than expected. And I’m never quite sure whether it’s because I’ve underestimated the size of the task or whether it’s because I’ve overestimated my ability to do the task.
So the question is, what happens when I find myself in that situation? Should I just keep working at it until it’s done and then accept the potential knock on effect to any plans I may have. Or should I compromise on the quality and do whatever I can in the time available?
I think the context to whatever situation I am in will define which of those is a obvious path to take. However, perhaps a better question I should be asking myself each time this happens is what can I learn from the experience where something does take much longer than necessary?
Should I recalibrate my forecasting skills or should I refined my expectations on what I’m looking to achieve? I’m not quite sure what the answer is or at least I wasn’t until I came across a video of Simon Sinek talking about his most recent book, which is the Infinite Game.
He was talking about the difference between the infinite game and the finite game. A finite game is one that has rules. We know how to play, we know what to play and the players define the rules. Any competitive sport like football or rugby or hockey are typical examples of finite games.
But an infinite game is much different. There are no rules. It’s one that evolves. There’s no competing against other people. I won’t go into all the theories that he talks about because I’ve only just come across it so I don’t really understand it yet.
What did come out of the video was this one question. In doing something the question to ask is “To what end am I doing this?
I think letting go of the need to have deadlines and targets or at least be driven by them is probably something to look at.
I’ve just spent all week putting together the sales and marketing material for my Power Of Focus Experience, which is something that I trialed in the autumn of last year and that worked really well.
It’s something I’m promoting this year and I thought in a day I could probably knock together the features and benefits, explain what it is and then put that page up on my website. But it’s taken me all week to do that. And even now, I still haven’t finished it.
But I realise that I’m creating it to a quality that is going to be sufficient for me to credibly present the value and benefits of the experience to potential clients. And even though it has taken me much longer than expected, what has happened is that I’m going to be pleased with the result.
I will have a webpage that’s got all the information. There’s a video for someone who prefers to consume it by video and there’s a downloadable PDF with the information, and that’s going to be a powerful resource for me.
Now, whilst I would have liked to have finished that two days ago, I have to accept that it’s taken me longer, but I’ve got a good quality results out of it.
So it’s a conundrum I’m sure I’m going to face again in the future. Sometimes I might have to compromise such that the quality of things does shift a little so I can get something done in the time available because of a deadline that I can’t control.
And it might be that in the future I may have to spend more time than I had planned on something to get the right level of quality to meet the needs of my expectations.
I think the key thing is to have that flexibility to recognise that and go with that.
I’m fascinated to see what Sinek says about the infinite game and will put his book on my wish list.
So that stays episode.