Two Steps Down

We all have aims in life, goals that we’re striving for, ambitions to fulfil, a five-year master plan, but sometimes turning those aims into reality can seem such a distant prospect, too difficult, and often, something we feel we may never achieve.

A couple of years ago I went on a course for work called Quality Service Improvement and Redesign (QSIR).  The aim was to provide guidance on how we could approach looking at our services and using lots of different tools, consider how we might be able to make step changes, or giant leaps in efficiency and effectiveness. I found the best bit was around process mapping, something that I really enjoy doing. However, as we consider the grand plan, the longer-term project, it can become daunting.

If making progress is going to take a long time, QSIR offers the suggestion of breaking it down into smaller, more manageable steps.  For example if it feels like something will take two years to achieve, what can be done in two weeks that takes you closer to that?  Take two “steps” back.  So, two (or five, or seven, or whatever your estimate timescale is) years becomes two weeks; two months becomes two days, two weeks becomes two hours, two days become two minutes.

This works for home life too.  I am currently considering what my five-year plan is, where I want to be, what I want to be doing, work-life balance and all that.  I have an idea of what I want, but it’s going to take five years to get there.  In the mean time I can think about what I can do in the next five weeks.  That might be looking at my finances, writing a Will, deciding how much employed work I still want to be doing and in what capacity and so on. They are small, manageable chunks that are perfectly doable in that timescale that will get me closer to realising my dream.

There are other tools within the QSIR arsenal that would help me towards that dream.  I could brainstorm ideas with others especially as it would impact some of them.  I could develop an action plan to keep me on track. I could review against progress and re-evaluate effectiveness.

And for me, of course, underpinning all of this would a spreadsheet or two of data, forecasts and possibilities, actions, risks, lessons learnt and somewhere it might even involve a process map.


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