I’m a lucky guy. I married the love of my life – Amy. This month – June 2020 – marks our fourth wedding anniversary, a decade since we first met.
When I was single and dating, I had an idea of what a “perfect” woman for me might be like. I knew I wanted someone who was happy, smart, kind and playful. But what I really wanted was a counterpart so we could complement each other in being our best selves. Rather than perfection or commonality, I knew I wanted someone who was ideal for the life I envisioned.
When I met Amy she was everything I envisioned and more. The problem was she was out of my league. I wasn’t even on her radar. I had to come up with a strategy to win her over. This consisted of many trials and errors, planning and adapting, pivots and learning. Over the course of many weeks and six strategic attempts, I finally convinced her to go out on a date with me. And the rest is happy history.
Turns out that the lessons I learned finding my perfect mate are a lot like what I’ve learned about building robust business operations.
In love, we say “follow your heart.” In business, I say, “Keep the end in mind.”
ENACT a plan.
ENACT Framework to Stop Over-Processing and Get Shit Done
E – Expectation Setting
Figure out what the end looks like. Is it growing market share? Hiring top talent? Doubling sales? What is the minimum viable product? When do you need it?
Do you know where you want to get and when? This is vital so you can assess when it becomes counterproductive to move forward, but also when you need to adapt your strategy to meet the urgency and needs of the objective.
Perfection paralysis is real. To avoid that paralysis, start to outline success criteria for the ideal end so you can be descriptive and prescriptive when devising a plan, when to move it forward, and when to try something versus over processing options.
N – What’s Not Acceptable?
Set limits! When evaluating new goals or strategies, you could literally research something for years. There may seem to be endless sources of feedback and advice. You must set time constraints and limits to how much you’re going to research and consult and not lose momentum. You should set limits on how many times you’re going to try an idea. For me and my wife, it was nine times (luckily I achieved success at six!).
A – Align
Make sure your stakeholders and team understand and share expectations before you begin to implement a new strategy or plan. You may have the end in mind, but do they share that vision? Is there buy-in on the concept? Does your team agree with the new timeframe? Launching new ideation can unsettle some people. If there’s pushback, find out why. Is it simple resistance to change or are there tangible barriers to the new plan? Establishing proper expectations clears the way for collective engagement – and success.
C – Calibrate
Once big change is underway, be sure to calibrate success as you go. Don’t get so fixated on the goal that you are blinded to unexpected opportunities that arise. Schedule check-ins, regularly or at the very least at the midpoint of a big venture, so you can adapt and pivot as needed.
T – Try
Achieving the goal is a lot easier if you don’t over process. More often than not, it’s better to try and fail at a few things rather than lose time because you’re stuck over processing something – or worse, not do anything at all. Test ideas! You avoid hand-wringing while searching for a perfect answer, which boosts your chance of succeeding. Use “real world” testing instead of incubating an idea to perfection.
Like screwing up your courage to ask for that first or sixth date, take the leap! Have a clear aim, don’t over process, gauge progress as you go, and keep trying!
I enjoy helping companies find their ideal path. I love helping companies get shit done! I propose that we work together if you need help marrying your vision to future success, especially if you battle with over processing. Let’s talk!