Big Hairy Audacious Goals

10 Dec

I signed myself up to a 2-day ‘Proactive Project Management’ course, and I just wish I had done it sooner! I am trying to untangle both how I can manage my very varied workload, and how to make my part more time-effective in new projects like building the Reach website. Having a bit of theory and some space to reflect is proving very valuable and I have lots of notes of things to try for the next website project.

It has also got me thinking about the bigger picture and my work personality. The trouble is I quite like structure at work, but my role and workplace culture is much more fluid, messy, or maybe free, depending how you look at it. I do try to impose some order on my own time, but there is only so much I can do when I know meetings will suddenly pop up, urgent email requests come in, and rotas change. Of course it can be motivating when something new and more exciting drops out of the sky, but the drawback is completing the preceding projects can become a long drawn-out process (which is frustrating because I am a finisher), and it is easy to just go with the flow rather than plan because you never know what is around the next corner.

And here is where the proactive element comes in for me. If I just go with the flow, then all I end up doing is maintaining my current projects and contributing to other peoples’ new projects as they come in. The course today reminded me that I must keep an eye on my own portfolio to make sure I am balancing:

Progress — Maintenance

Proactive — Reactive

I have let myself become more reactive and I need to stop myself from slipping, but how?

Drawing - giant monster overlooks all

Caution, here be BHAGs

As an exercise, we were encourage to list some BHAGs:

Big Hairy Audacious Goals

Try it! Regardless of feasibility, list what you would like to achieve in the next two years. How do you feel about the list? Inspired? Overwhelmed? Sceptical?

The next step is to discuss these with someone, discard the bad ideas, and assess the desirability of the remainder – asking the “so what” question against each one to find the true purpose and benefit. The key is to receive ideas positively and openly, and treat the implementations as a separate step, otherwise new ideas will never get off the ground.

This really struck a chord with me. I found I had plenty of big ideas once I put my mind to it, but in my day-to-day life I had already denied them as soon as they arose. I told myself – ‘I will never have time for that’, ‘there is no money for equipment’, ‘no one will want to help’ – which may be true, but I didn’t fight for them. I need to be more assertive and tenacious – make the flexibility and positive attitude to new ideas in my workplace work for me and my project.

Next step – list my ‘maintenance’ work, list some proposals for ‘progress’ projects, get ready to negotiate…


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