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The Carpe Factum of Courage and Conviction

Wblooney6 Beep-Beep-Zip-BANG!!!

As a kid, who didn't enjoy watching Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote?  (As an adult, I still indulge in their antics thanks to the joy of DVD box sets.)  There was a single-minded focus from our coyote friend:  Fast Food (literally)!!!  That one thing drove his energy and his passion and consumed his every thought.

In my last post, I began talking about Steve Farber's book, Radical Leap, and the first of the four elements:  Love.  The remaining three (energy, audacity, and proof) fall in quick succession.  Love inspires energy, the projects where I've been the most energetic (and I'm guessing you have, too) are those where you truly love what you're doing.  However, Love and energy alone are not enough - in project management or in life.  I've known people who are truly happy, in love with their jobs, and have energy to spare... but like Don Quixote attacking windmills, they are taking the easy route by pursing things that don't really matter.  There's no risk.  They are simply kidding themselves that their project counts.  To truly "seize the accomplishment" one needs audacity and proof.

Have you ever noticed how frequently the words "courage" and "conviction" go together?  That's not by accident.  To accomplish something truly great and meaningful (as Farber puts it, to change the world), takes a whole boatload of audacity, of courage.  Fighting the naysaying dragons, the stagnant corporate culture, the politics of the status quo takes more backbone and fortitude than many possess.  So what do they do?  Yup, they retreat to projects that don't really matter and convince themselves that they're making a difference.  It's the same logic that people use to make really crappy cars look great by tricking them out.  It doesn't change what's under the hood, but my it's a nice-looking Yugo.  In the same token, these people are shouting from the street corners:  "I have the best darn-looking deliverables on the planet."  The unspoken piece of that is that their project is going nowhere, but boy-oh-boy, do their requirements and plans look swell.  True love and energy will inspire the audacity and courage to do something meaningful.

Which leads us back to our coyote friend.  It takes a lot of courage to stick his neck out time after time, constantly trusting the faulty products from ACME and the way the laws of nature are frequently and inconsistently violated out in the desert.  But what about the proof?  Where's the end result?  Show me da money!  Some could argue that his battle scars are an accomplishment (certainly we've all received some great "trophies" from those), but eventually he needs to produce an accomplishment.  A little Road Runner Roast, some Beep Beep Bouillon.  Failures mean nothing if they don't eventually lead to some kind of success (even accidental successes as a result of failure are acceptable - ask the folks at 3M).  As Edison put it, he knew 10,000 ways not to make a light bulb.  But he eventually knew one way to do it.

Again, if you are burnt out on projects that produce more headaches than hallelujahs, more noise than notability, more ACK than accomplishment... then read Radical Leap.  Now get out there and catch yourself a Road Runner!!!

(More on Farber's new book, Radical Edge, in a not-too-distant future post.)

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Comments

Lucia Mancuso

Once again Tim - true to form - in my head!!!
The trick is when you are on a project that you love, an idea that is great, the creativity is fantastic, and then the project creeps, and creeps and the scope changes, and you need to stick with it (These projects are for Paying Clients)... The roadblocks hit, the headaches are constant, the brain space is consuming... but it must get done - their is no option to walk away. It doesn't matter if these are often or few and far between - they exist and that in itself is painful.
Is this about the time when most people hit the bottle?

Timothy

Lucia... you know how I enjoy romping around that mind of yours :)

Tenacity with a purpose is missing in our organizations today. Projects drag on for months and years without producing evidence of results.

They can hit the bottle, hit the wall... or they can take to the mat and fight to win.

Lucia Mancuso

I have realized that once the momentum is lost, that is when the creep happens. However, it is just getting people to understand that - even if you put the project aside, put it off, procrastinate on it - it is still taking up your brain space. Finish it up - get it off your plate so that you can focus on starting something new and exciting... besides winning that race through the forest is the true victory.

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