The one thing to never worry about – and the one thing to obsess about

Every day has plenty to do and keep on top of, and if you are like most people you have your fair share of things you worry about. The one thing you should never worry about is what can’t be done, and the one thing to obsess about is what must be done.

People around water coolers all around the world can be heard commiserating about the things that can’t be done…

“I can’t make the customer happy because I can’t set product priorities”

“Our department can’t catch up because of a hiring freeze”

There certainly are business constraints, but most of the time these “can’t stories” we tell ourselves are just excuses to justify inaction and lackluster results. If it really can’t be done, then cross it off the list and stop dwelling on it.

focus-on-doneWhatever it was that can’t be done was only a tactical step anyways, so become obsessed with finding a way to be successful in spite of it.  Keep your eyes on the big goal, and if one door is closed, quickly move to find another one that is open.  Get creative, think about what must be accomplished and do anything that will get you closer to the objective.

Can’t get funding for a critical system? See if there is an open source solution that meets the need.

Found a system but can’t get IT to prioritize it? Have it hosted for a few bucks a month on a purchasing card.

Companies are full of rule followers who pass on any opportunity to do something great because they are afraid of what might happen. Don’t be this person, we have plenty already.  Organizations are starving for driven people to make things happen; so when it comes to fulfilling the goals of your team, department, company, charity, or whatever; only think about what must be done.

This blog post is based on a series of tips tweeted by @jackson_matt about operational turnarounds. My favorite tips can be found on Slideshare.

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