10 big ideas about implementing projects that matter

In my opinion there isn’t anything more important than implementing projects that matter. It’s the one theme that runs through everything I teach.  

Here are ten big ideas about getting great at implementation:

  1. Implementation is the key to personal fulfillment. Personal productivity, success and ultimately fulfillment comes from achieving long-term objectives that stretch us … in other words from implementing projects that matter. 
  2. Implementation is the key to teams that rock. It turns out the people in our teams aren’t motivated by more money. The key to lifting engagement is giving them autonomy, mastery and purpose (thanks Dan Pink), and involving them in projects that matter are the perfect vehicle for this. 
  3. Implementation is the key to organisational success. The most successful organisations in the world are the ones that have nailed the implementation of innovative projects. The good companies that have gone out of business are the ones that haven’t.   
  4. We are not wired for this. We evolved to survive in the jungles, not to implement long-term projects. Neurologically, physiologically, biologically and psychologically we’re not set up for implementing important projects, so we need to introduce some hacks.
  5. What's external is more important than what’s internal. We are told that success comes down to character, discipline, integrity – the internal stuff. While these are important, it’s more important to have the right structures, environment, frameworks, methodology, support and accountability around us.
  6. You are your projects. When your team reflects back on your last quarter, your organisation looks back on the last year, or you reflect on your life, it all comes down to your projects. What were the important things that were attempted and achieved?
  7. The context is decisive. The context for a project is the purpose, the big why. And if your team is not aligned with the purpose, if they don’t believe in the reason for implementing it, the project will fail. It’s worth spending more time at the start getting clear about and aligned on the big purpose for the project.
  8. You can't do it alone. You are going to need support to achieve anything worthwhile, people to talk to and people to help with the doing. Start putting together the team earlier than you think.
  9. There are four levels of accountability. Accountability can be personal (to your self), peer (to your buddy), positional (to your boss … in my case, my wife) or public (to the world). Pick the appropriate accountability level to have the best chance of success.
  10. Build an implementation mindset. Do whatever it takes to create a mindset with an action imperative and that demands things actually get done.