Strategic

Framing Projects Within Indisputable Vision

Sam Frentzel-Beyme Follow Managing Partner & Strategy Director

The Short of It

  • Projects often fail because they are not connected to an indisputable vision.
  • An “indisputable” is a vision for the future that is broad enough that basically everyone will agree with it.
  • The right context is halfway to getting the green light for projects.

With the new year here, you probably have a whole hatful of ideas and projects that you think will help take your organization to the next level. The problem is that often the "fire in the belly" that is such a big part of the year’s opening weeks is often extinguished by the daily routines and processes that start piling on once projects start coming in and individuals and teams fall into the typical way of doing things.

One thing you can do to make sure that your new ideas survive, and hopefully bloom, come year end is to frame your new projects within an indisputable vision.

Here’s what I mean.

Often when people have ideas for projects, they think of them within the organization as it is. This can be a problem. If the organization isn’t doing what you think is important, there’s a good chance that it doesn’t have the same definition of important as you. There could be a lot of reasons for this, but one of the larger ones is simply a disagreement around values. After all, if everyone in your organization was on the same page as you, a lot of what you want to happen would probably already have happened or at least be in the works.

The workaround for this is to make sure that when you pitch new projects this year you frame them within an indisputable vision. By “indisputable” I mean a vision for the future that is broad enough that basically everyone will agree with it. Remember that what you want first of all is a legitimate platform on which to simply present your ideas. Without a platform you risk being cut off before you even get started or worse being perceived as someone who just doesn’t get it (not great when you come back next year with another set of ideas).

An example here might clarify things a bit better.

Let’s say an office cleaning company employee wants to create a new “Eco Package” that is all about minimizing negative impacts on the environment. Currently, the company doesn’t offer anything like it because the product doesn’t fit with its existing way of doing business. An easy argument by the company, either explicit or implicit, against such a package would be that it would be too expensive and thus customers wouldn’t pay for it. This rationale, or vision for the company one could say, is one where the cheapest product with the easiest implementation is the best thing the company can do to be successful.

You can see that if you end up having a cost argument, it’s unlikely that you’ll win anyone over with a package that will by most accounts cost more to sell and more to implement, at least in the beginning. In order to begin changing minds, you’ll have to begin by changing the argument itself. In this case, that could be done by asking one simple question: Are environmental concerns a key purchase consideration and will they impact the office cleaning industry?

Of course at this point, you're going to have to include some of the supporting information that you've been collecting to back up your argument. In our example, this could be things like the increase in the number of environmentally friendly household products, the increase in cycling and hybrid cards or even the rise in allergies. But once you've proved that the conversation you want to have is a valuable one (in a sense, that your vision for what the future will look like is a good one), more people are going to want to hear how you plan to address the problem.

At this point, you now place your project within the framework of this new vision that everyone has now bought into and your halfway to getting the green light and hopefully the support of all your colleagues. Good luck!

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