Whether it’s the changing of the seasons, the end of the year, the middle of a major project or a lull in the usual routine, everyone and every team can benefit from a pause to reflect and a push to move forward. It has been a very busy year at IQMS (again) and it’s important to maintain our vision while progressing (or slogging) through day to day operations. When there’s a moment to consider …
Take stock of the current situation.
Where are you/your team/the company in relation to where you thought you were going? What had you set out to achieve (this year, in this situation)? What was accomplished and what wasn’t accomplished? Were there any meaningful unintended consequences? The current position is a product of multiple factors including, but not limited to, original intentions. Where are you now?
What additional options are available now that weren’t available in the past? What is the outlook for the future in related areas? Is the current status based on methodology, procedures or technology that may be outdated? Changing one or more variables in a project can entirely divert the direction of the outcome. Mobile device computing is an excellent example of technology changing the nature of information access in all areas, including both personal and business models.
Given any possible scenario, what is the desired outcome? Better profitability, competitive edge, greater market share, better search engine optimization? Success, fortune, fame? Perhaps your intended objective has been obscured by pesky unintended consequences. Direct your attention to your purpose. Distractions occur but they can also be useful in providing stimulation or inspiration for creative problem solving. A team member’s obsession with a specific quality chart may incite you to re-evaluate the purpose of your quality management system. What are you trying to achieve? Is it important to be able to view things just the way you always did or is there a better way to get to your goal?
What is most important? Address the highest priorities first and don't get sidetracked by the small stuff. It'll still be there when you get back to it. Look at what you really need to take care of and tackle it first. Doing so will allow the remainder to cascade into position naturally.
What is dependent on other variable factors? If you can’t tackle point C without working through results for points A and B, it’s speculation to jump to C prematurely. Although point C may be a higher priority, you may not be able to get there from here if you don’t address A and B. Timing matters. Dependent scheduling is key, for example, in any “capable to promise” scenario.
No one wants to be caught in “analysis paralysis,” so a quick assessment of where you are, where you’re going and how you’re going to get there can be helpful in a myriad of ways. Reflection helps keep your values foremost, your mission on track and your vision clear and attainable. Having confidence in your situational awareness helps you also sleep better at night and get to where you’re going sooner, and in better shape than you expected!