PROBLEM. I see a common pattern that both creative people and organizations fall into. There are three parts to it: 1. They excitedly start a new project 2. Then their excitement stalls 3. They put the project on ice and start another.
This pattern happens for a lot of reasons. But one of the most common ones is that the project isn’t tied to a high-level goal. When a project isn’t tied to a high-level goal, step 2 in that pattern–the excitement stalling–is hard to navigate because there is nothing beyond excitement to guide it.
SOLUTION. A simply written high-level goal serves as a north star. It guides people and organizations to stay on course with their projects. A well written high-level goal also helps people and organizations say NO to projects that don’t advance the goal, even if the project looks like a lot of fun (read: it’s a distraction)
There is a formula for writing a simple, high-level goal. The formula looks like this:
I / We help [x group of people] do [Y] by using tools from [Z discipline].
For example: I help underrepresented inventors prototype their ideas by using tools from design and business.
Seems simple, right? But what often appears simple is actually a very difficult exercise. That’s okay. We can do difficult. It just takes time.
If writing a high-level goal seems daunting, just write a draft and know that it can change over time. Write it and let it sit for a few days, then revisit it. If you do this for a month or two, revisit and revise your goal every few days, eventually it’ll click into place. Just stick to the format that asks the following:
- WHO are you trying to support?
- WHERE are they trying to go?
- WHAT tools are you using to help them?
Write it, then wear it. Once you’ve written your high-level goal, put it somewhere where you can see it every day, your screen-saver, a post-it on your mirror, your calendar, a temporary tattoo! If you wear it, you’ll remember it. It will serve as a guide.
this post is part of series that fleshes out The TUNING Toolkit – a toolkit that helps people move their ideas forward