Today, I’m going to give you a challenge. But before that, I want you to think about all the projects you and your team have on your plate. Take a few seconds to jot down a list if it’s helpful.
Once you have a good sense of the projects underway, I want you to grade each based on your enthusiasm and excitement.
Give a “+” to the projects that you feel are on track, that will push the organization further, and that have you and your team motivated and growing.
Give a “-” to any projects where you feel the opposite. Maybe project deadlines have lapsed, the team has lost sight of the goal, or you just know the results will fall short of expectations.
Give every other project a “+/-”.
For those projects that you gave a “-”, ask yourself, “What caused that to happen?”
Maybe it’s because the project was foisted upon you, but I’m willing to bet that there was a moment when the project had promise, that it had you energized, and you knew the impact it could have. Now you’re on the other end, wondering why you’re still pushing it along.
Our bandwidth is never taxed at the start of a project, which makes it easy to say, “Yes.” But enthusiasm is a precious resource. You spend a little bit of it every time you say “Yes” to the next thing, but you need it most when the work begins, to build momentum and see things through to completion.
My challenge for you: Say “Yes” to less.
When a boss, peer, or direct report attempts to enlist you in a new initiative, pause for a moment. Ask yourself: will saying “Yes” now have unintended consequences? After all, it’s better to say “No” at the outset than to say “No” through your actions later on.