Any idea, project or job has an end goal. The goal is what should drive you. Not having a clear goal will make you more susceptible to losing your way. Not keeping an eye on your goal makes it easier to get sidetracked. This is why you should start at the end.
The end goal will allow you to map out your plans. Create your own personal Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City. A guideline to help you on your quest to success in whatever you are venturing to do. The Emerald City is your “What?”, the Yellow Brick Road is your “How?”, and getting back to Kansas is your “Why?”. I’ve written more about this in a previous blog.
Most of the failed ventures that I was a part of, failed because the end goal was either unclear, or it wasn’t communicated clearly. Simon Sinek has written a very powerful book on the subject Start With Why (Amazon, Bol.com). Your end goal should always start with a “Why?”. Why do we want to achive/build/sell this? Everyone you will encounter when working on something will be much more receptive to the emotional aspect (Why?), than the functional aspect (How?). This does not mean that the functional part should be overlooked, the “How?” question is answers how you will get you to your end goal.
I had a spectacularly unsuccessful venture where I was building custom motorcycles. I had a workshop, tools, skills to do it. I built a few custom bikes, and sold them, never quite recouperating my part and time investment. So I started doing maintenance, to make ends meet. Motorcycle maintenance was NOT what I wanted to be doing, and it showed to my customers. I did a good job of maintaining, but my customers didn’t come back (I wasn’t expensive either). Needless to say, I had to close the doors on that particular venture soon after. I had lost sight of my Yellow Brick Road, and would never get to the Emerald City, or to Kansas, this way.
In The Wizard of Oz, which is what I was referencing, Dorothy is faced with numerous challenges. Dorothy convinced everyone in her band of misfits to join her quest by telling them about her “Why?”, and helps them find their own “Why?” as well. Every time they face hardship, it is their “Why?” question that gets them through.
This story tells us that “Why?” is the most powerful drive of all. When you and your team have the same goal in mind, everyone can work autonomously towards that goal. No need for convuluted meetings, or insane email chains that CC the whole team or company. When everyone agrees on the “Why?”, everyone becomes an autonomous professional working towards a shared goal.