October 28, 2017
Launching a Powerful Project in the World is a Team Sport

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For the moment, let's say you are on the cusp of launching a bold new project in the world -- one that not only inspires you, but is the first thing you talk about whenever people ask you what you're up to these days. You know: Your life's work. Your calling. What moves you.

Congratulations! I am super happy for you, especially since all of us need meaningful projects we can throw our whole selves into. Well done! Awesome! Rock on!

That being said, there is one thing I urge you to keep in mind as your project unfolds. Innovation is a team sport.

While the origination of a powerful new idea or initiative is often an individual experience, implementing that idea requires a truckload of collaboration. Maybe two truckloads. Or three. And that, unfortunately, is where a lot of wonderful, new projects break down -- especially projects that require committed, responsible volunteers.

The reasons are many, but they fundamentally boil down to this:

1) Lack of a clear vision by the idea originator: 2) Inability to communicate that vision to others; 3) Lack of a clear strategy/game plan; 4) Relationship/control issues; 5) Lack of a clear decision-making process; 6) Unclear roles and responsibilities; 7) Funky communication (including poorly facilitated meetings).

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Knowing you have precious little time to read my rant, I am going to cut to the chase and list ten key "best practices" for you to consider employing as you move forward with your beautiful, inspired, much-needed project. Ready?

1. Get super clear about your vision and be able to communicate it in 60 seconds or less.

2. Attract a core team of trusted collaborators to you -- your so-called "inner circle" who you can jam with, vent to, and get honest feedback from.

3. Do a deep dive with your core team, so you get everything on the table, i.e. WHY each person wants to participate, what skills they bring to the project, your expectations -- and theirs -- of their participation, the specific roles you are inviting people to take on, and what your team's operating agreements will be.

4. Allow your original BIG IDEA to morph, via the input of your core team and other people who will be attracted to your project. HINT: Even though YOU started it, everyone involved needs to treat it like their own. If not, they will end up feeling disengaged or disempowered.

5. Get early feedback on your idea from a diverse group of people. It is easy to get so intoxicated with our ideas that we become blind to their flaws.

6. In collaboration your core team, conjure up a Version 1.0 of a game plan -- a not-yet-cut-in-stone strategy for moving forward. This will inform your need for volunteers, funding, and resources. It will also lower your stress.

7. Define the roles and responsibilities that need to be filled by still-to-be enrolled volunteers. And, when you invite people to participate, make sure you give them a written description of the roles you are asking them to play.

8. Find ways to keep everyone, on the team, updated, informed, and acknowledged for all the efforts they are making.

9. Clear the air quickly, whenever there is a breakdown with anyone on the team.

10. Make sure your meetings are well-designed and facilitated. Always begin with some "personal check in" time and some soulful conversation about WHY this project has the potential to make a huge difference.

More here on the best practices of a volunteer organization.
Launching Project Teams
Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at October 28, 2017 12:07 PM

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