Stating the obvious. Really?

Do you ever get the feeling when you're in a meeting and someone says something so glaringly obvious that you start rummaging around for sunglasses…


 

Do you ever get the feeling when you’re sitting in a meeting, discussing a project plan and someone says something so glaringly obvious that you start rummaging around for sunglasses… But wait, everyone is agreeing with them and nodding in approval. What? Why? Surely everyone knew that, you sure did.

And herein lies the problem, when we are faced with a deadline it is easy to see the appeal of diving straight in and working your way through, but in doing this you are actually depriving yourself of the most important stage of any work project – the planning process.
Instead of viewing the obvious details as a delay, embrace them, write them down and use them as stepping stones. People in a team process and interpret information differently and even the most clear-cut concepts can appear in different shapes and sizes in everyone’s minds. This is the benefit of collaboration. This variety works best when it’s fuelled by the same objective. Individual ideas can shine through as long as they all tie back to those basic principles. The combination of different perceptions can only create magic when it’s all poured into the same pot and by noting down even the most apparent factors you are providing yourself with a strong foundation for making a well thought out and inclusive project plan.

There are hundreds of cliches and quotes about preparation being the most important part of performance, it is the central theme of raps, films and tumblr images all over the internet. However you can ignore all of that, if you want proof and motivation for investing time in the basics, just look at your own experience. How many presentations have you aced by skimming over the brief and diving in straight away? How many times have you thought “but I knew that” when someone is explaining something to you? It doesn’t matter if you knew it, if it was tattooed on the inside of your brain and you could recite it in your sleep. The problem is you didn’t show that you knew it. As children in school we are continuously taught the importance of displaying our thought process. Effort marks for showing your work could pull you up the grades even if your conclusive answers weren’t always right. This method of working methodically through a problem also allowed for a another critical component of success. The ability to review. With all your work laid out before you, it was easy to track your brain’s footsteps and find out where you tripped up. Step-by-step you could re-work a problem until it made sense, work became transparent. You could invite people to help you and their fresh eyes could pinpoint a mistake for you in seconds. Why? Because you made it easy. You made it easy for people to work with you.
As adults we tennd to forget this process, maybe admittedly due to high workloads. But if it’s not beneficial in the end you will move from one mis-communicated disaster to another without realising what’s wrong with the process.

Now let’s carry this principle into the grown-up world. By laying out the fundamentals of your work you can identify where you need help. The way we work today allows us to blur the lines between industries and professions and this is where our best work stems from. We see examples every day, companies are bringing in data specialists to help them grow and expand, athletes visit sport psychologist’s to improve their mental endurance. Everyday new partnerships are formed so the gaps in work can be filled in by experts in that field. It is part of your job to identify those gaps and you’re only going to do that by noting down your process. Make life easy, and more successful for yourself and start from the very beginning, it’s a very good place to start…

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