If the secret to success, in business and in life, is preparation, why are we so loath to take the necessary steps? The answer is that we are often afraid that it is too difficult or even impossible to know beforehand what will befall us, so we think, “Why bother?” But when you stop to answer some simple questions, you can easily prepare for even the most complex and difficult tasks.
5 Questions to Ask to Prepare for Success
1. What is the purpose?
First, you must determine the overall purpose you are trying to achieve with this project. The purpose isn’t always blatantly obvious, so make sure you discuss it with everyone involved, as this will keep everyone aligned with the same goal, and keep everyone focused on the results.
2. What are the current conditions?
Before we can get started, we must know where we are starting from. Take stock of where you are now in your business, what procedures and processes you already have in place, what are your current staffing levels . Also, look at external conditions: your market, your customers, the weather/road/climate.
3. What steps need to be taken to reach the goal?
Outline each step that needs to be taken to reach your goal. In particular, break down the steps that you (and your company) are least familiar with into the smallest components.
4. Which steps are most likely to be points of difficulty?
Identifying which of the necessary steps are likely to be the most difficult and/or time consuming can allow you to circumvent or fix problems in advance.
5. What does success look like?
Clearly define what success looks and feels like, so everyone will know what you are working toward. To keep everyone committed to the end goal, establish mini-goals for each step in the process as well.
We often feel frustration while working toward a goal, especially one with multiple steps, because we want the results NOW. When you learn to accept that preparation is an important part of success and learn to judge the results not the process, you will accomplish more in less time.