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Three Ways To Focus Your Project Plan Vision

Originally posted: June 2, 2010 on TrishMcFarlane.com

How often do you go to training?  If you’re like most people, you attend a couple courses each year.  Now, out of all the training you attend, how often do you take away tools that you actually put into use?  I’m betting the percentage of participants that walk away with tangible tools they then use in their day-to-day job is fairly low.  I have been in that boat many time in my career.  But, not today.

I attended a training course on change management a couple months ago and it was actually outstanding.  Not only did I learn a great deal through exercises and role playing, I walked away with a handful of tools that I now use in my job.  I want to share one I’ve found helpful in focusing the vision of a project.

Why is this important?

Because without a focused vision that clearly gives the reasoning as to why the new approach is significantly better, people will not be motivated to buy into the idea. Steve Boese recently wrote a post and shared the theory that a new idea needs to be at least nine times better than the current state in order for people to make the change willingly.  I believe that directionally, that is true.   So, how do you begin to focus the vision of the project so that it becomes actionable by the target audience?

By working through three areas:

  1. Concerns- List out every possible concern you think your target audience will have as it relates to the project or the change you’re asking them to accept.
  2. Interests- What are the interests of the group?  What will motivate them to accept the new vision?
  3. Wins- What can you show to the group as a “win” for them?  What will success look like?

I find myself jotting down ideas on post it notes, scraps of paper, or napkins.  The point is that you can use these three categories to work through just about any type of new idea so that you can create a more focused business vision that people can buy in to.

Here’s a sample I created for why a business should implement a social media plan:

Once you have your ideas listed, you can begin crafting a vision statement or mission that tells the audience what’s in it for them.  Once you have that hook, you are much more likely to have adoption of your idea.

So, what tools do you use to work through adoption of a product or idea?  Share it in the comments please.

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