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Five Poor Excuses for Not Making Changes in Your Business

One of the hallmarks of an effective business goal is to be specific. “Be more efficient” is a terrible business goal. Your goals need clarity and specificity if you’re to know whether you’re on the right track and, more importantly, when you’re done.

Here are five excuses for not making changes you might come across within yourself or your organization, and how to overcome them.

  • Excuse: Too much specificity stifles creativity.

    Response: Creativity should be encouraged — the question is where and when. You want your project’s drivers to be clear and precise when stating their objectives; you want your project’s supporters to be creative when figuring out ways to meet these objectives. You want to understand what people do expect from your project, not what they may expect. The more clearly you can describe their actual objectives, the easier it is to determine whether (and how) you can meet them.

  • Excuse: Your project entails research and new development, and you can’t tell today what you’ll be able to accomplish.

    Response: Objectives are targets, not guarantees. Certain projects have more risks than others. When you haven’t done a task before, you don’t know whether it’s possible. And, if it is possible, you don’t know how long it’ll take and how much it’ll cost. But you must state at the outset exactly what you want to achieve and what you think is possible, even though you may have to change your objectives as the project progresses.

  • Excuse: What if interests or needs change?

    Response: Objectives are targets based on what you know and expect today. If conditions change in the future, you may have to revisit one or more of your objectives to see whether they’re still relevant and feasible or whether they, too, must change.

  • Excuse: The project’s requestors don’t know what they specifically want their project to achieve.

    Response: Ask them to come back when they do. If you begin working on this project now, you have a greater chance of wasting time and resources to produce results that the requestors later decide they don’t want.

  • Excuse: Even though specific objectives help determine when you’ve succeeded, they also make it easier to determine when you haven’t.

    Response: Yep. That’s true. However, because your project was framed to accomplish certain results, you need to know whether those results were achieved. If they weren’t, you might have to perform additional work to accomplish them. In addition, you want to determine the benefits the organization is realizing from the money it’s spending.

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