Charlie Gilkey on Start Finishing, Part 7

In his book, Start Finishing: How to go from idea to done, Charlie Gilkey discusses how we can follow a nine-step method to convert an idea into a project and get the project done via a reality-based schedule.

These are some of my favorite concepts and takeaways from reading the book.

Chapter 7, Keep Flying by Accounting for Drag Points

In this chapter, Charlie discusses learning how to recognize the drag points against our projects and developing ways to keep our momentum going. He offers the following recommendations for us to think about:

  • Drag points are the forces where reality will push against our project road map. For a project, people tend to be the dominant source of drag for our plans.
  • There are several no-win scenarios we often tell ourselves. Unfortunately, those scenarios keep us from doing our best work.
  • We choose mediocrity (in the short term) because we do not want to succeed due to the no-win scenarios, but we also do not want to fail. Thus, mediocrity is the space between success and failure, and it feels safe to be in it.
  • OPP (other people’s priorities) create conflict with our best work. So here are some recommendations for addressing OPP as it comes up during our project:
    • We create the space and time in our schedule for OPP that we accept or will accommodate.
    • For OPP that we do not or cannot accept, we need to be clear that it is a No rather than a maybe.
    • For OPP that we cannot genuinely accept and cannot outright reject or renegotiate, it is best to keep things to ourselves and advance our project in our personal space and time.
  • It is important to recognize various derailers and naysayers in our projects. Derailers are well-meaning people whose “help” and “feedback” throw us off course. Naysayers are people who actively criticize us or act against our project.
  • Doing project premortems can help identify and avoid the challenges that may slow or kill our projects. In addition to account for the drag points created by the no-win scenarios and OPP, ask the following questions to keep ourselves honest:
    • Have we picked a method of doing our projects that is especially hard for us? How might we start from and leverage our GATES?
    • Are we carrying any projects that we can let go of to keep them from bogging us down?
    • Are there any unhelpful stories we are telling ourselves, and what will we do to counteract those stories?