Consider the Ferrari video above, and notice what can be achieved in 2.5 seconds: Stabilization of the vehicle, tire changes, part replacements, and finally release of the vehicle. The self-critic in you might ask, if it’s possible to do so much in that time, why has my project been stagnant for months?
There’s plenty of blame to go around in an organization when results aren’t achieved. Managers may assume their subordinates are incompetent or lazy. Subordinates may blame poor working conditions, the tools given to them, or their managers lack of clarity.
Yet, even if everyone was working at full capacity, there is a common obstacle shared by both managers and subordinates: goal ambiguity. It is typically not sufficient to leave goals as one line slogans — if they are even addressed at all.
In the fast, messy, and global world of today, projects are increasingly complex and require a goal-subgoal hierarchy (generated through deep planning) from day one of implementation. The goals generated should strive to be quantitative, fully prioritized, and in line with the organization’s mission.
Typically, projects begin with great fanfare, but often the nitty-gritty is not confronted in planning and a goal hierarchy is not established. This leaves team members floating, confused, and sometimes embarrassed to clarify once the project is in motion.
Most importantly, once a target is set, team members will know how to aim. Tasks can be divvied up and organizational charts can be established. Thus team members, knowing exactly what their goal is, can be precise in the actions they take – from the tasks with the greatest responsibility down to crafting an email message to a client. Each person’s task becomes well defined.
Consider again the Ferrari video above.
What enables the team to work so well? Surely they have the skills and training. But there are plenty of organizations that cannot thrive despite having recruited top talent.
So, what is the key?
The goals are clear and hierarchical: Chiefly, make races run smoothly so that fans can be entertained and staff can earn an income. How can we do that (subgoals)? Change all four tires. Then, do it as fast as possible. Then, make a front wing change. If there’s nothing to fix, clean the front wing etc…
With these goals in mind, the team is able to work in full synchronization with near-zero ambiguity, and utilize a hierarchy of priority should uncertainty arise. Everyone knows exactly what they are doing, what everyone else is doing, and why.
If you want to increase the power of implementation when setting out on a new project, generate a list of goals – not a list of tasks. Tasks will come later. If planning is ineffective, implementation will be ineffective.
For an in depth analysis of the Ferrari Pit Stop and each team member’s task, check out this video: