Stand Out!

Thanks to Kid President, we all know “Life is too short to not be awesome.” In life, in work, and even in play, we’re always searching for ways to improve, excel, and ultimately, succeed. It’s easy to get lost in the mundane and the routine, however.

When our work seems repetitive, or perhaps we’ve fallen into a creative slump, it’s hard to find our way out of our self-imposed rut.

When we reach that point of lull and dull, we have two choices. One: we can do nothing, and go on status quo. Let’s face it, that would be lame, and doesn’t really count as a choice.

The second choice, and the one we’re going to run with, is being more awesome. Wow your team by using these seven simple tools to own your next project, and maybe earn a bragging right or two.

Here are our tips to make sure you stand out in your next project.

. : 7   T O O L S   T O   O W N   Y O U R   P R O J E C T : .

1.  Invest in the Outcome

Before you begin, put stock in the desired end result. Look at the “big picture” and define what it is you’re going to accomplish. Set goals that enhance the worth of your time, energy, and effort. If you’re going to own this project, you’ve got to be willing to plunge into the very heart and soul of the mission behind it.

2.  Have a Plan

A carpenter doesn’t build a house without a blueprint. Too much can go wrong, and if even one post is off by the slightest measurement, the entire framework of the home could prove worthless. No one will buy a house that won’t stand up to even basic expectations. The same goes for a project thrown together on a whim. Don’t go into your work without a carefully thought-out plan. Stay on task, hold yourself accountable, and line out the details. When obstacles present themselves, and we all know they will, show your strengths in your preparedness. “Poor planning on your part” makes for a lousy end result.

3.  Communicate Your Message Clearly

Speak to your audience in their language. If you’re an IT manager training users on a new software roll-out, for the love of all things pure and holy, don’t talk to them in techy-jargon. Use terms, phrases, and key-words your audience will be familiar with. This will keep them engaged, involved, and interested.
Be sure not to underestimate the importance of relaying essential details of your message, either. Spending too little focus or attention on your communication can be detrimental to your end-game. Get to know the people you need to communicate with, spend time learning how they best receive information, then deliver the best infomercial for your cause anyone has ever been witness to.

4.  Stay One Step Ahead

After you begin the communication process with your peers, be prepared for the inquisitive souls within your work environment. Anticipate the fact there will be questions, and answer them before they have the opportunity to be asked. Rely on your confidence in, and knowledge of your project to showcase your carefully thought-out responses to possibilities, potential problems, and promised results. Look at your project from all angles, and quench the fires before they start.

Try to think in systems. When you organize your project in steps, tasks, and short-term results, you can lose yourself in the process of the “what” in your work. Instead, stay focused on the “how”, and the impact these separate steps have on the long-term outcomes. Implement cohesive systems rather than individual tasks, and you’ll be able to cover more territory ensuring you achieve the results you’re after.

5.  Be Ready for the Overwhelm

You’re lying awake at night thinking about what you should have done, forgot to do, or need to do tomorrow, in order to keep things moving on this project. You’re exhausted. You’re burnt out. You’re working your tail off, and no one seems to care. You might feel overcome by the tedious nature of ensuring this project’s success. You flat-out want to quit.

It will happen. But have hope! These will be the times you really have to kick it in gear. Seek out some encouragement. Take a minute to collect your calm. Remind yourself (repeatedly, if you have to) of the achievement that awaits you on the other side. Power through, remember your initial investment, and strive for those returns. It will be worth it to follow through to the end.

6.  Empower Others to Participate

Remember your college capstone class and the group project you just ended up doing yourself so you could be assured it was done right, and you’d get your credit to graduate? Me too. Let’s let bygones be bygones for the success of our project, though, and leave those college-day habits behind. Enlist the help of others, utilize their strengths to further your progress, and build rapport with your team. Don’t hoard your ideas. Let the suggestions and support of others spur you on to finish strong.

7.  Resist the Temptation to Take All the Credit

After you’ve kicked butt and taken names, you’re going to draw the praise and attention of your peers and managers. Don’t get a big head. A little humility goes a long way, and it would behoove you to always give credit where credit is due. Thank your team members, thank the people who encouraged you, and thank your manager for entrusting you with the project you just completely knocked out of the park.

These seven tools are sure to help you own your project, if you take the time to implement them. Beef up your business tool box, and listen for your name to be dropped as the go-to guru for the next big deal.

One last thing: Don’t hoard our ideas, either! Share this with a colleague, and get crackin’ at being more awesome.

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