Beginning With The End In Mind

Greetings.  Looking to do something important and remarkable?  If so, you'd be wise to start at the end rather than the beginning.  That's right.  Before you try to figure out how to create the best new product or service, or the best organizational design, or the best customer service experience, or the right strategy, or the best IT infrastructure, or the best program for driving innovation, or the best proposal, or the best advertising campaign, or the best training program, or the right job, take the time to figure out what you'd like to accomplish.  It's great advice that Stephen Covey shared years ago in his classic book The Seven Habits of Highly-Effective People and it rings true in every assignment I have the privilege to work on.

So ask your and your colleagues and co-conspirators: 

What would an absolutely brilliant result look like?

What would happen if your wildest dreams came true?

Then focus your best thinking on achieving that result.

The trouble with most companies and organizations is the reality that they decide to do something important without ever imagining the perfect result.  And, failing this, they limit their potential and their likely success right from the start.  It's like planning a trip with no destination in mind.  It might be great arriving someplace new and unexpected.  But we're likely to make the most of an opportunity when we know where we're going and what's remarkable about getting there.  Because that knowledge is actually far more liberating than constraining.

So commit to beginning each important initiative with the simple promise to start at the end…by being clear about achieving a result that really matters.


Covey quote


We win in business and in life when we work backwards…because being clear about where we are going is essential to finding the most remarkable way to get there.