Long-term projects are challenging to commit to for leaders and organizations, but they provide powerful payoffs. When a company can select the right project in which to invest time, resources and manpower, the investment will propel the company to become a leader in their field — the kind that becomes a differentiator in the marketplace.
1. Be persistent.
Success doesn’t happen overnight. It takes persistence and enduring hard work.
Just as persistence and commitment are vital to building a successful company, organizations benefit when they develop the muscle of persistence when focusing on longer-term projects. Prolonged persistence in one area can even help an organization develop persistence in other areas.
In essence, prolonged projects lead to persistent organizations.
2. Be open to more than one idea if you want to be innovative.
Inventors and creators who break through to become highly successful often spend tremendous energy on research and development before they develop the solution that leaves a legacy.
Be open to learning valuable lessons and finding more than one solution to a problem. When organizations focus on solving a problem, they discover that in looking for one solution, they often find many. Those many solutions can lead the team to discover the one that will lead to recognition.
In his best-selling book, Originals: How Nonconformists Move the World, Adam Grant discusses at length the power of practice in finding original ideas. “If originals aren’t reliable judges of the quality of their ideas, how do they maximize their odds of creating a masterpiece? They come up with a large number of ideas. Simonton finds that on average, creative geniuses weren’t qualitatively better in their fields than their peers. They simply produced a greater volume of work, which gave them more variation and a higher chance of originality.”
Imagine a world where the masterpieces of the greatest inventors did not exist. If the genius inventor would have given up after just a few attempts, the world would be a lesser place.
3. Challenge yourself to develop products of value.
Quick solutions and products are not always the best ones. Author Wayne Muller gave great insight to this when he said, “In the soil of the quick fix is the seed of a new problem because our quiet wisdom is not available.”
Challenge yourself and your team members to use your most creative and out-of-the-box thinking. Best-thinking practices often lead to better products. When companies only engage in short-term thinking or quick solutions, they rob themselves of their potential and the potential of developing products built with longevity and excellence in mind.
Steve Jobs began a prolonged project in 1976 with the creation of the Apple I. His vision was to build a personal desktop computer that everyone could use. Today, we have the Mac. This phenomenally successful brand of computers was only developed because of the years of failure that Jobs and the Apple team experienced. Both Jobs and Apple learned the value of persistence, and even today make a difference in the lives of people all over the world.
4. Get comfortable saying no.
Great companies get great at saying no. To focus on a prolonged project, develop the discipline of turning down potential sidetracks. A long-term project that is clearly designed — and one in which the team is highly engaged with — leads to prolonged focus. A prolonged focus can help to produce better products and solutions.
The leader of an organization is tasked with vision-setting and placing a premium on the right projects and priorities. Leaders who work hard on the right projects help lead good companies to great success.
Consider the size of your project and if the project is significant enough to inspire and motivate the team for an extended period. The right project in the hands of the right people can provide value to the company for many years.