Happy “Ditch New Year’s Resolution” Day!

17 Jan, 2016 Blog, Design Tips

New Year’s Resolutions: Love them or hate them, we’ve reached the moment of truth; today marks “Ditch New Year’s Resolution Day”.

January is definitely that time to look at the year ahead and set some clear goals to keep us motivated. But how do you apply them to your projects, and how do you keep those goals alive for the whole year?

January 17th is “Ditch New Year’s Resolution Day” because resolutions were known to be ditched few weeks after they were made and the fact is that only 8% of people stick to their new year’s resolutions after the 17th of January. Most commonly our new year’s resolutions focus on personal goals such as, to lose weight, be better organised, spend less, save more; but we should not forget our project-related goals.

One of the common first steps in approaching any project: business or personal is to define the goals and objectives. This step defines the project outcome and the steps required to achieve that outcome. Reference is often made to S.M.A.R.T. goals (Specific, Measurable, Agreed, Realistic & Time-bound), but is this enough to keep you motivated and focused on the final project outcomes?

Goals are the “WHAT”

Goals are broad statements applied to a project. Goals are the “what” of the process. In other words, “what” will the project accomplish? Projects may have more than one goal, but many objectives per goal. Do not confuse goals with objectives. Let’s take the example of a new public park to be designed and delivered this year, the project goal may be “to be the number one parkland destination for people living in South East Queensland”.

Objectives are the “HOW”

Objectives are specific statements that support the goal. Every goal will have one or more objectives tied to it. In essence, the objective is the “how” of the process.

It is often suggested that objectives start with an action verb. This ensures that the objective is measurable and that the projects end-result is addressed through the action of the objective. Each objective becomes a measurable milestone. Following on from our example above, the objective of our goal “to be the number one parkland desination for people living in South East Queensland” may be:

    –  establish a unique character and identity

    –  promote easy access to and throughout the park

    –  ensure adequate provision of amenities and shade

It all sounds good, a logical process to follow and easy to apply. But really, does this keep our projects on track?  Does it keep us motivated every day to deliver a great project?  Does it get others around us (our team, our bosses, our consultants, our stakeholders, our investors, our politicians) motivated to deliver the project goal? I argue not! I believe there is one key missing ingredient – the WHY!

Start with the “WHY”

According to Simon Sinek, the fundamental difference between the “Apples” of the world and everyone else is that they start with “why.” This is a question that Simon Sinek asks the audience as he begins his famous Ted Tak.

If you have not seen it I highly recommend it, here it is:

Sounds simple, but what Sinek found is that most companies communicate their message backwards. They start with their “WHAT” and then move to “HOW” they do it. Most of these companies neglect to even mention “WHY” they do what they do. More alarmingly, many of them don’t even know why they do what they do!

We can apply the same logic to our goal setting. Whether it be a personal goal or a project goal we first must start with the why.  In fact your “why” is what should drive everything you do; and in business and projects it is what should drive your team, your consultants, your consumers, your clients. Others may call this your “purpose”, whatever you call it, when it is clear and simple to understand, it can be very powerful.

Project Goals should start with WHY!

We can apply the same logic to our goal setting. Whether it be a personal or business goal, we must first start with the why. In fact your “why” is what should drive everything you do; and in business and projects it is what should drive your team, your consultants, your consumers, your clients. Others may call this your “purpose”, whatever you call it, when it is clear and simple to understand, it can be very powerful.

What does it mean for me?

So going back to our  example of the new public park to be designed and delivered this year, the project goal was “to be the number one parkland destination for people living in South East Queensland”. But that is the “WHAT”. Let’s think about the “WHY”.

Back to the Apple example in Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk “with everything we do, we aim to challenge the status quo”. This is Apple’s why. Steve Jobs’s famous purpose in life was “to put a dint in the universe”. For Buster Douglas his “why” was to make his mother proud; a story for another day, but well worth watching here if you have time.

Our Public Park project “why” may be based around the emotional outcomes, the effect on the lives of the people who will use it, the feelings it will evoke or the memories it will spark, it may be to leave a lasting legacy that you can be proud of. Whatever the “why”, whatever the “purpose”, it will be something that will motivate you every day, not just for the first two weeks, and you never have to worry about “Ditch New Year’s Resolution Day” ever again.

At Vee Design our purpose is simple yet powerful

We are driven by our passion to offer unforgettable experiences for all those who visit the places we create. There is nothing more satisfying than watching people enjoying the environments that we have a part in designing. Environments that enable people to interact with each other, with nature and the unexpected. These are the experiences that become the unforgettable memories of tomorrow.


Three key takeaways for your project

1. Step Back and Use “WHY” to Think About Your Own Project

2. Incorporate “WHY” into your Project Vision

3. Redefine your Team’s Perspective to match your “WHY”


 

David Hatherly