You’re sick and tired of being sick and tired. You gave it all you can… with all that you have… but you’re still stuck. Frustrating! In the last entry, we left to get some energy back and some clarity. Now let’s get you out!
First, understand that everything that happens—good or bad—is a teaching. Now take a deep breath and tell yourself, “I can’t do this alone.”
You are not alone, and it’s okay to allow the people who stand with you to help you.
Revisit data to see if you overlooked something. It is easy to interpret data in ways that confirm our perceptions rather than looking for problem areas. Look at the data objectively and try to get a second pair of eyes to look it over.
Next, break your viewpoint. Don’t resign yourself to the idea of endless tasks with no relief in sight—it doesn’t have to be this way. This is your adventure.
Focus your Priorities
Create a “Goals and Distractions” list. Rank all your goals from most to least important.
The top goals are now your current priorities.
If the priorities seem unmanageable, you can strategically break them down into smaller tasks.
The now-smaller tasks can then be organized into a sequence that results in the completion of priorities.
Be creative. Use colors and shapes.
Looking at the chart below, notice how the task seems more manageable when broken down?
If a task seems to be dragging on and on, you can further break the task down to get a grasp on it and establish clear roles and accountability (like what was done for the green sub-tasks for selecting a fabrication method, see below).
It’s important to spend time organizing. You want to maximize productivity and reduce costs; by doing the right thing at the right time.
This tactic can be used for various reasons. A common area that can bog down a Startup company is trying to please too many stakeholders at once.
Employ this tactic to prioritize certain stakeholders and strategically map out how to get their attention, one step at a time.
Eliminate as many distractions as you can. Get creative.
Bogged down with hazard assessments? Assign someone to research and create a simple report for you using the MAUDE database. Do you keep wasting time on internet searches? Plan a tactical spot for browsing times, like 20 min before a lunch break. Leaving to eat will disengage you from the unproductive activity.
Take a Selfie
Look at yourself. A thing to consider is maybe you need to allow yourself to grow more before attempting certain tasks.
The internet is full of free educational content and connections. Try a course on YouTube or connect with an expert on Linked In for advice.
A big part of starting a company is growing along with it.
You will learn and shape all around you as you go, which is truly a fascinating journey.
Start a personal progress journal so you can revisit ‘the beginning’ one day—might make a good book someday.
Take a nice close look.
Have a Team Huddle
Each member of the team may be focused on different tasks so what you need to do now is get everyone on board with the priorities. The key: communication!
Set up a gathering to talk. Your teams’ experiences and knowledge combined is substantial!
Gather all ideas of what should be done to get back on track and adjust the priorities.
Assign the tasks, and work out a detailed game plan together. Keep your door open, have check-ins, and fix any known issues.
Companies with high productivity levels tend to have employees that feel comfortable and safe.
Take initiative to change the team environment and make the company workspace clean, organized, and designed for success.
Be a Leader
Take leadership! (Sometimes that’s all it takes.)
Humans are social beings that find comfort in forming social groups with leaders.
It is relieving when someone confident takes charge because it provides a sense of direction. Make decisions, assign tasks, and remove barriers; get things going!
When a team is stressed, the occurrence of groupthink rises; it’s when a group chooses harmony over productivity.
A good leader can break groupthink and encourage honest communication.
In the Start-up world, a confident leader will make better decisions when it comes to taking essential, calculated risks.
“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality”
– Warren Bennis
Use your Network
Let’s face it, you’re not likely to get unstuck by yourself. Simply put: you need help.
Get an outside perspective and talk to a mentor or an expert.
Reach out to your network and together take initiative to get unstuck. 10 hands are better than 2 hands.
They’ve got you covered!
If you ever feel like you have no choice but to force yourself, you should slow down and spend some time looking for resources.
Even if you already have a few it never hurts to have more. A second or third set of perceptions and advice is very helpful.
Face the Costs
One fact we can’t ignore: getting stuck really is costly in time and money.
And the help we get may come at a cost—but don’t avoid it.
Accept the costs.
You may feel like you’re wasting money you don’t have to get the proper help you need, but is staying on budget really worth the risk of losing a whole “season” in earnings?
The benefit of this “unwanted” investment may have profound implications for your success and will demonstrate your leadership capabilities.
Now you have some tools to get out of a rut. The feeling of exhilaration once you are out is so satisfying. Especially when you’re back on track—it feels amazing.
Now go out there and free yourself!
Once you “break free”, treat yourself and the team. Celebrate; you have learned something valuable.
In the next entry, we discuss how to stay out of a rut and prevent yourself from getting stuck.