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area of focus vs project

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  • area of focus vs project

    This might seem to be just a difference in terminology but it impacts what I do in terms of planning and next actions. I want to be positive and collaborative when my partner identifies certain problems to be solved or suggest things that should or could improve our business and our work environment. Is my objective, which is to be more positive and collaborative, a project or an area of fous?

    The last time I took for granted that a certain "quality" was a project, I partially failed in it. The quality should have been guiding my projects.

    It might help to have some context for the present matter.

    My partner usually suggests something believing that it will improve our business or the work environment and indicating that it is a solution to a problem. The problem is that the "solution" was not implemented. But, he suggests the first "solution" that comes into his head or the most recent thing he has heard from somebody and it sometimes is not a solution at all. He has done nothing to really analyze or identify the problem and will insist that I or we should implement a solution that is only partially relevant or is really part of a longer sequence of activities. Often these are in areas in which I know a little bit more, but I may not have the facts at hand or in readily digestible form. Or, because I am willing to find out more and gather the needed information, it becomes my job to do the research. In other words his solution becomes a problem for me to solve. And then it is up to me to me to fully explore the problem, research possible solutions. costs, possible benefits,etc. I have to practically write a term paper to challenge my partner's initial "solution". If I ask him to do the research he will settle on the first source of information he finds or the first "consutant". I have to have all the facts and all the figures at hand, or wait until something else captures his attention. These can be anything from hosting parties, having new signs made, solving problems with our building.

    In theory we are equal but he has a stronger personality, more essential technical knowledge for our work, and access to more capital.

  • #2
    I may be wrong, but I think what you describe is neither Project nor Area of Focus.

    Your partner is throwing out an idea, an opinion. There's nothing actionable until you decide to do something with it.

    If your partner suggests something you think is unreasonable, you may reject it. Then there's nothing to do. Or your partner may have a great idea for a particular task which you want to jump on, in which case it becomes a Project.


    • #3
      Originally posted by Jamie Elis View Post
      Is my objective, which is to be more positive and collaborative, a project or an area of fous?
      Jamie, I would actually describe your objective as a 30000ft Goal as it is, by the sounds of it, something you want to work on for at least 12 months and is somewhat strategic. A 20000ft Area of Focus flowing from it (say, for the next 6 months) might be "Business Partner Communications". A 10000ft Project flowing from this might be "Implement 'New Ideas' folder in office". Ignoring my poor attempt to make the content seem relevant I hope you can see that there would probably be quite a number of Projects you could tackle that together would contribute to an Area of Focus and through that achieve your medium term Goal of being more positive and collaborative.

      Hope this helps.



      • #4
        Simon is right.

        Just 1 minor addition: Some people established the religion of SMART-Goals. If you obey to that every 30,000 ft goal has to have some timeframe attached to it. I do not think htis is necessary but sometimes even a hinderance to reach this goal. Think about it this way: some goals you want to reach always by never reaching them but always going in theire direction. The 10,000 ft proejects will ensure that you do not follow a Fata Morgana.

        Hey, but Steve Pavlina says it much better than I do.


        • #5
          A matter of Quality, not Productivity

          Treat it as an objective at 30,000 feet, not as a SMART-goal, but a parametrized objective, where you ask meaningful questions regarding the quality of your relationship.

          If the assessment of your objective makes you want to change the quality of the relationship, you may define responsibilities at 20,000 feet and projects at 10,000 feet that support these responsibilities. And the amount of performance of the responsibilities by both partners would change the quality of the relationship.

          Last edited by Rainer Burmeister; 10-27-2007, 04:58 AM.