Look before you work

I had a Labrador that was fearless about jumping into the water. No matter what body of water it was, she would launch herself into it, seemingly without checking the depth or anything in a blissful trust of the water. Of course, we’d all love to have that total trust as we start a project or come into one.

The reality is she did some checking it was just invisible to me stood watching. There was instincts and likely an assessment, although done at speed. Treating every project with a baseline of checking ensures you don’t leap without knowing.

Projects are usually a black box, particularly those you come to in progress. Taking time to observe the lay of the land before diving in is critical. Pause, open your eyes. Engage observation mode; listen before just diving into creating. Deep breathing here fills your lungs for the dive ahead. It stops wasting time, stress and allows you to start from a place of strength, not hope.

Check the reviews

When booking a restaurant, you often check out the reviews. If you wouldn’t eat somewhere without checking those out why are you ok just diving in without asking those working on it or who might have? Often you may find someone is working on it already or has gone down a path now abandoned you can be aware of and not waste time doing the same.

This pause is an opportunity to listen, channel your inner archaeologist. Context is critical before making any decisions so ask, observe and make sure you know what has come before. You never know someone might already have found a solution, or be very close.

One toe at a time

You don’t jump straight into a bath, or maybe you do once then learn. You check how warm the water is and then go in. Often if you jump both feet first, the sound of the splash will ring so loud you’ll not be able to focus. Taking time at the start means a stronger project and a better experience for everyone.

Check for monsters under the bed

Part of the eyes open approach to starting a project involves being honest about what could be lurking. If you give a monster a name in fairytales it often got less scary, do this to your project monsters. Name them, note where they are and be ready to slay them with your sword of preparedness.

Make sure you’ve checked everywhere, those project monsters like to hide in tiny places. If you are coming to a project already in progress be sure to ask where the monsters are hiding.

Take a map, snacks and don’t go alone

Starting a project is a journey so prepare like you would for any adventure. Pack your project backpack, take snacks, make a map and above all, don’t go alone. While you might be leading or the point person on a project, you never have to go alone. A travelling companion makes everything seem a shorter and less arduous task. Plan the next steps and where you are going to go.

Measure twice cut once

The crux of this is about taking time at the start of a project. If you do this, you will rapidly get on the same page. While there is a little pause as you catch up to everyone’s breath and get in sync, then you can increase the pace from a strong foundation.

Mistakes cost trust, so by taking time to be careful, check the situation, you can ensure everyone has the best project adventure possible. Looking before you work enables you to work effectively and get a lot more done with a lot less stress.

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