In a perfect world, all our projects would be with a familiar, trusted team. Case and point: Everyone at eImagine’s amazing; I’d work with our people all day long. But life’s not perfect, and more often than not we all end up working with unfamiliar folks. The unfamiliar always represents a risk. While I’m not afraid of the unknown, I’m ready to start warning everyone, then start straight up calling people out.
I know this has happened to you: You’re working on a project, and So-And-So is supposed to finish Blah-Blah thing. Two weeks go by … Anyone need anything? Everything going OK? Remember, everyone, the demo’s coming up. Crickets … Alright, great, no issues. Let’s demo our accomplishments! Guess what, So-and-So didn’t even start on Blah-Blah thing. In fact, So-And-So didn’t do a lick of work in two weeks. Why not? “Um, I wasn’t sure what to do about Blarg so I, uh, got stuck.” Come on! You didn’t think to ask after two weeks of sitting on your hands? Apparently not. It never ceases to amaze me that some people seek out or even create roadblocks. Sometimes it takes more effort to find and justify a reason to fail than to just do the work.
Let me tell you a story: It’s a dark and stormy night. You’re driving down a road on the way to a fancy dinner party. Suddenly, there’s a fallen tree in your path! Since you can’t get past it you just sit there. You die of starvation. Wildlife eats you. You’re returned to nature, the cycle of life is complete.
Okay, that’s never happened to anyone, so why are people choosing the same sort of inaction in projects?
There are plenty of perfectly valid actions to take when there’s an obstacle in your path: It’s in my way! Remove it. It’s stuck! Go around it. I can’t get around it! Turn around. It’s too big! Ask for help.
“I didn’t know what to do” is not an excuse for not getting things done. There’s always someone you can ask for help or clarification. All of us working together (presumably) want the same thing: A successful project. So it should go without saying we’re here to help each other!
I’ve started doing this at the beginning of projects. I announce to everyone: Questions? Ask. Otherwise, Act.
It doesn’t guarantee results, but at least when I call someone out, they can’t claim ignorance.