“Love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is done well.”— Vincent Van Gogh

Our walk started with rain and ended with sunshine. We were exploring a new hike that had many small delightful surprises. The picture this week shows the point of the hike where the trail ended at some small waterfalls.

Thinking of the hike later, I realized that too often, leaders in the workplace are more focused on the climactic moment of delivery than they are on the journey.  It is easy to fall into that mentality as there is such pressure to finish the journey and finish it quickly.  Too often, leaders treat the work journey as a forced-trudge.  

However, leaders that focus on the quality of the journey quickly discover there are significant advantages over just focusing on the end result.

  • The quality journey is more likely to result in a quality finish. Rushing through the early stages often results in twisted ankles and slow walks back. It also results in major rework at other project stages and delays to that awaited delivery point.
  • If you are not paying attention to your surroundings, you will miss unexpected delights. As a leader, I am delighted when I find skills among team members I did not know they possessed. We often find new ideas for new products or new approaches.  The leader-in-a-rush often misses these things and is sometimes even annoyed by a falsely perceived delay.
  • The journey is to create and to build skills. Hikes may result in seeing a magnificent waterfall at the end. They also improve our stamina and flexibility. In taking on projects, take on ones that challenge. Use the project to develop your skills.
  • The joy in the journey leads to more projects.  I see some organizations with too much attrition. This problem is often related to the feeling that the project journey is a trudge.  Alternatively, when we lead projects with joy, when people find that the work builds their skills, when people reach milestones with pride, you have not just finished the project you are leading, you have created the loyalty and energy for many more projects to follow.

Yours in the calm pursuit of excellence,

Alan Willett
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