Success Sketching at 88 MPH

If you were asked to draw a diagram, on a piece of paper, of how you plan to achieve your goals, would you be able to? One step further, could you do it simply?
If not, that’s a problem.

It’s called a success sketch diagram. It may seem very rudimentary, but in my years in the trenches alongside colleagues, I've only ever met a handful of professionals that could do this well and on the spot. We’re not talking about Doc’s sketch of the Flux Capacitor and the pipe dream of what we hope to accomplish. (Thank you ‘Back to the Future’ reference) I am referring to your ability to write out or whiteboard what your goal is and how you’re going to get there. If it looks like a spider web that was caught in a DeLorean, 88 MPH, 1.21 gigawatts aftershock, then there might be room for improvement. (Thank you ‘Back to the Future’ reference #2)

Maybe these questions can help you draw things out:

  1. What is my goal?
  2. What does the road to this goal look like? What are the desired outcomes and the processes that lead to that ‘Mission Accomplished’?
  3. What milestone achievements do you need to hit in order to reach success? Are there daily/weekly activities that will drive you there?

Whether you’re developing a heavily process driven, new account development program, and working to attack age old methods with new creativity, as I am, or if you’re simply working to keep yourself focused on short term goals, ALWAYS have a defined plan on how to achieve the results. One step further is to draw it out. It isn’t simply for the “visual learner” that we should do this. It is painfully simple for us to get lost in the labyrinth of side-missions or even in the minutia of our own roles. Knowing what the road in which we drive looks like can help us avoid the speed bumps!

In asking myself, throughout the week, “Can I put what I’m doing right now into my success sketch?” I have found that I keep things focused, track progress more closely, and manage to focus on results rather than only activity. This concept might seem familiar to some of you as it is a good habit from project management. It is part of the methods of planning, organizing, and managing a project that carry us from inception to successful implementation. Drawing things out can help us keep an eye on the goals in front of us with a clear definition of how we’re going to get there.

More complex projects will require more advanced project outlines. A success sketch has more value with short term goals, role responsibility defining, and helping to define the start of a process.  There are no time travel short cuts and often we need to remind ourselves to be patient and stay the course.