It's simple. This prescription is easy to understand and execute — but for some reason, for most people, it's really difficult and complex. So here it is —
Launch. Declare Victory. Move On.
Work is made up of a bunch of tasks, activities, projects, initiatives, and deliverables. We work and manage them day in and day out. Unfortunately, we sometimes forget that many of these things we do have a critical half-life. We need to complete them and get them out the door ASAP.
But we don't do that. We keep working on them, we can make them better. We can push them to do a little bit more. In addition, we are sometimes afraid of releasing our deliverables out into the world for fear of failure. So we procrastinate.
So here's my prescription for success (taught to me years ago by a valued boss):
Get it out. Set a deadline and stick to it. Put plans in place to make sure nothing can stand in the way of launching, releasing, or completing your deliverable. It could be as big as a new product or as small as a simple presentation. Your job is to get it out and DONE.
This one is critical. Build into your plan the ability to put a positive spin on everything you accomplish. Why? Because the typical human being tends to do the exact opposite — they criticize, condemn, and complain about what they deliver. How it's not ready, how you could've done better, how you missed the delivery date by a few seconds.
We all do it. So to be successful, do the exact opposite. Declare victory — let everyone know it's out, it's a success, build up enthusiasm, get people excited. Let them know about all the great things it will do and how it will change their lives.
This is the most important part — once you declare victory, move on to something else. Don't rest on your laurels — your last deliverable will start to smell after awhile. So many people launch something or complete a huge project and for the next 3-6 months, bask in the glory and slowly move from delivery to on-going maintenance.
Once you declare victory, move on to something new ASAP. Too many people fall into the trap of sticking around too long at the party and they suddenly become the 'guest that wouldn't leave'. So move on as soon as you can (if you have a hard time doing this, elect someone to push you out the door, hand you your car keys, and drive home).
Why is this a prescription for success? Because it clearly positions you to deliver quickly, market your success, and move on to another great project. Too many times we let nostalgia, inertia, and pure laziness to keep us back when we need to move forward.