image by eqqman, flickr artist

it’s pretty easy when you’re working hard on a project to become engrossed in it. all your energy becomes focused on one thing, and one thing only: delivering results.

be careful, though, because you might be delivering the wrong results.

when we get that kind of laser focus sometimes it’s hard to break free from it. “i have a deadline, i have to get this done, and i have to get it done right now.” so, being the good workers we are, we start to work towards accomplishing that goal. unfortunately, we sometimes go down the wrong path in getting to the finish line. instead of looking at our available options, we pick the one we know will work even if it has consequences. we’re not as efficient anymore. our processes can be improved. our tasks are disjointed. our products don’t provide value.

these things happen, and they happen often. it might start with priorities that all become worthless because every task now has ‘critical’ or ‘high’ importance. it might start with a demanding client who asks you to turn a demo into a fully functional work product within a week. but at the end of the day, it’s just something that happens. that’s why i think — especially for those of us who work as consultants — that it’s so important we don’t forget to turn a consulting eye on ourselves.

what meetings are we having? do they provide value? has the mission of our project team changed? do we still have the same goals in mind as we had 3 months before? 6 months before? 12 months before? does our leadership structure still serve the client well? does it serve the project team members well?

these questions and more are questions that need to be answered, but — perhaps more importantly — they need to drive tangible change. it’s really simple to ask the question (i just did!); it’s a bit more difficult to implement changes based on the answers you get in return.

sometimes you just have to look in the mirror.