Types of Vision|
Managing Multiple Missions
Profile Your Missions
Five Steps for Coordinating Missions
Todayís marketplace aggravates overload situations with its endless hype of technical advances. The wild scream for new products creates a frenzied environment with multiple missions and a ratís nest of conflicting goals.
Handling this barrage of demands requires a cool head with clear vision and focused missions.
Types of Vision
Keeping a broad overview prepares you for opportunity and gives you a jump on the future. Technical people frequently find themselves in the right place at the right time, but seldom are they prepared to take advantage of it.
Three types of overview/vision predominate:
These areas represent the amount of thought you give to work, personal, and ideas concepts. The periods may be formal planning sessions, or daydreaming on the way home. They are your attempt to make sense of your situation at the next level of organization.
Although a 30/30/30 mix might appear to be the most balanced split, it's not practical and may not even be ideal. Work is demanding, and it pays the rent. It makes sense that your work situation receives the bulk of your visionary effort. Letís assume that 80/10/10% (work/personal/ideas) is possible.
Remember, this percent deals with visionary time. Itís not a percent of total work during the day. The goal is to reserve mental time for expansion and new ideas. Donít worry about actually finding time for doing the activity you uncover -- thatís a scheduling exercise. The objective is to engage your mind on a wider set of visions.
The 80% work focus allows you to focus on business planning. This reserves time to organize how that 40 - 60 hour block of your week will unfold. With improvements in handling multiple missions, 80% should be adequate.
Focusing 10% of your planning on personal issues doesnít mean taking longer for lunch or buying a new suit. It involves taking stock of your special interests and inclinations. These are the activities that put a spring in your step and make the day pleasurable.
Donít feel bad if youíve answered "none" to the question on time allocated for personal interests. If youíve been in overload for any length of time, your personal focus may have atrophied. When breaking free fifteen minutes early to pick up the laundry seems like a fun event, you need better balance in your work week.
Ironically, when you're in overload, you can lose touch with how much you enjoy your work. Without this enjoyment factor, your stress is a greater, and your sense of overload increases.
Itís rare for anyone in overload to pay much attention to ideas that pop up. Having time for a second cup of coffee at breakfast is difficult enough. To pause and contemplate a passing thought doesnít fit with being in overload.
Unfortunately, pots of gold are hidden in those half-baked ideas. They are the seeds of insight that lead to breakthroughs and innovative products. Capturing and nurturing these ideas, however minor they may seem, can point you to larger opportunities.
Even negative new ideas are an asset. Getting a sense that a project is going sour can lead to a proactive response. Pulling the plug early might prevent a tremendous waste of resources.
When planning, be aware when the personal and ideas "visions" surface. Itís easy to let work oriented goals overwhelm them. Make an effort to keep the 80/10/10 breakdown alive. Whenever possible, ask yourself, "Is there a personal or creative idea hidden in this?"
Managing Multiple Missions
Please donít skip this. Missions play an important role in helping you out of overload.
Many technical people will see the word "Mission" and flip to another section. The word conjures up memories of the corporate "Mission Statement," which theyíve come to know as self-serving, misleading, and a bad joke throughout the company. When questioned about the company mission statement, employees respond with an anger and a vehemence that makes you pause. Those in the trenches want to believe -- itís their sweat and effort on the line everyday. It hurts that the company mission statement is a joke.
If you want the saddest and funniest mix of twisted humor, open up a rewrite of the corporate mission statement to all the workers. Before long, they canít resist telling it like it is.
If missions are a bad joke to you, please set your opinion aside for a few moments.
Clear, farsighted missions counter overload by providing the framework for multiple projects and goals. Without a clear understanding of your missions, you can end up going in all directions at once.
The more complex your situation, the more mission organization will help. Youíll juggle resources better and prevent distorted goal setting.
Profile Your Missions
A solid mission must be genuine, have the right scope, and have a personal appeal.
A mission must be truthful. Begin by writing down a detailed, concrete outcome. Be realistic, this is no place for good intentions that wonít be backed up by action.
A genuine mission is often quite personal. Even when organizing pure company matters, the real forces and motivation are personal. "To rise up the corporate ranks," may be the driving force behind a new product design. Thatís exactly as it should be, however, you may want to keep these personal mission statements out of the formal planning documents.
Because genuine missions are personal, you may want to keep your personal planning documents at home. Itís too easy to leave a notebook behind after a hectic meeting. This means maintaining a book for personal missions and one for work goals and ideas.
Keeping some information at home violates the central reference principle, but the image of having your personal visions read aloud by the guys in the lunch room does not stir happy thoughts.
Genuine missions mobilize your energies and get your creative forces going.
Make the mission attainable. If itís too large, it has no meaning. Most statements of "lead the industry..." are unrealistic and far too broad.
This does not mean limit your aspirations. Seeing a doctor ease someoneís pain can stir a vision that lasts through years of science classes, medical school, and well into practice.
Intermediate missions provide better guidance than general, more visionary mission statements. For example, "getting into medical school" will shape and focus your immediate efforts more than "want to be a doctor." Your desire to be a doctor is more of a vision, whereas getting into medical school is a concrete mission.
Just as missions can be too large, they can be too small. Passing the chemistry exam is too narrow to be a mission. It falls into the goal category. Missions must be broad enough to organize groups of goals.
The ideal mission should come alive for you. This is more than being genuine, itís emotional. The mission should connect to your heart.
This can be a tall order. It can take time to cut through the years of phony missions and uncover your core motivations and visions.
Because itís difficult to settle on the perfect mission right off the bat, the missionís initial appeal may be less than stirring. Be patient. As you shape and refine a mission, it can move closer to your heart.
The ability to coordinate multiple missions is a key factor in handling overload.
Most individuals in overload juggle a variety of missions. If the missions are coordinated, they lead to collaboration and efficiency. If theyíre not organized, they lead to opposing actions, low accomplishments, and frustration.
The frustration of conflicting missions can cripple your initiative. The more effort you put into one, the more pressure you get from the others. And the chances for conflict abound: long term vs short term, sales vs engineering, sound design vs quick response.
Five steps to coordinate your missions:
1. List your current missions. Having them on paper makes them concrete and makes omissions more obvious.
2. Review each mission for clean traits. Is it genuine, within scope, and appealing?
In reviewing Tonyís mission profiles, several characteristics stand out. First, the fact that each mission was rated as genuine on the first attempt, portrays Tony as direct and relatively free of sub-agendas. He later confessed that he wanted to include: To expand to an increasingly responsible position in the company. However, it struck him as pompous and reminiscent of a phony interview answer.
Tony demonstrated an ability to narrow in on the right scope very quickly. His experience evaluating projects was showing.
3. Mark the missions that really jump out at you.
4. Group and consolidate the results. Examine the lists for patterns.
5. Delay the need to resolve conflicting missions. Start going forward on the ones that are clear and energizing.
Does this mean youíre a bad person because youíre cutting back on tasks that might be important to someone else? No. It means you are organizing your efforts to put high energy, important areas first.
It is much easier to pick out hot items than it is to eliminate bad choices. Even the largest time wasters and money drains have some reason not to be rejected. Donít spend time trying to reject a borderline mission. Focus on the good choices.
Will you still spend time on activities you'd rather ignore? Sure, but the other 95% will be right on track.
The answer is, well...yes. It may not sound like a phrase for your resume, but youíre in overload. Something has to give, and it may well be those entangled missions that are going nowhere anyway. The high energy projects will get done, and the questionable areas will be ignored.
If your target projects have the vision and scope that they should, the fact that theyíre progressing should have a positive impact on every other part of the organization.
Go to: | AWSS Main | Previous Chapter | Next Chapter | Feedback: email@example.com