Doing New

Doing new is hard and starting new is particularly hard. Once fear is overcome and new is started, doing new becomes a battle with discouragement. Not managed, discouragement can stop new.

Slumped shoulders and a head hung low are the signs and a mismatch with expectations is the source. Expectations are defined in the form of a project plan, but, since the work is new, expectations are not grounded, not calibrated. How long will it take to do something we’ve never dreamed of doing? Yet when disguised as a project plan, uncalibrated expectations become a hard deadline.

When you want to do new, you give the project to your best. When they use the right tools, the latest data, and the best processes, yet new does not come per the plan, your best can become discouraged. But this discouragement is misplaced. Sure, the outcome is different from the plan, but reality isn’t the problem, it’s the plan, the expectations. They did everything right, so tell them. Tell them the expectations are out of line. Tell them you think their doing a good job. Tell them if it was easy, you’d have given the project to someone else. Tell them they can feel discouraged for five more minutes, but then they’ve got to go back, look new in the eye, and kick its ass.

3 Responses to “Doing New”

  • I’m lucky in being semi-retired, so I can “do new” pretty much on my own terms (see weblink).
    In the corporate world, if the “do new” directive is generated within the engineering department, setbacks tend to be viewed as challenges and discouragement is kept to a minimum.
    If the directive comes from just about ANYWHERE else in the company, it is often so unrealistic that discouragement is almost unavoidable.

  • Mike:

    I agree, though I never formalized my thinking as you have. Thanks for contributing to the cause. Mike

  • Peter Eells:

    Mike, you are right on with the comment about the difference between motivated and de-motivated teams. The motivated ones have their immediate management backup, they are encouraged to find the solutions, solve the problems, and get the product to market while the manager keeps the naysayers and worry-worts off their backs. The good manager watches from a short distance and gently redirects the team when needed. They also protect them from those who do not understand that creation is a chaotic process, often unpredictable, and seldom follows your schedule.

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Mike Shipulski Mike Shipulski
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