Wednesday, February 02, 2022

The Wisdom of Tempered Optimism

The new project is appealing.   The new purchase has pizzaz.  The new franchise will surely work well.   The new training should pay handsomely.  

Many of us want to believe the Next Thing will fix our current malaise.   Be it corporate, financial, educational, psychological or relational...we want very badly for the Next Thing to fix the “it” that’s bugging us right now.     

And maybe it will.  

But maybe it won’t.    

How can we tell?  

What if we trained ourselves to ask some questions beforehand? 

  • What if it brings in half the expected revenue?

  • What if it takes twice as long to complete?  

  • What if the relevant authority refuses to approve it? 

  • What if the costs are double the projection? 

  • What if it chews up every free weekend I have for the next two years? 

If significant components go wrong and the outcome is still good, perhaps your optimism is well-grounded. 

If you need everything to go right, for all the best-case scenarios to happen to get a positive outcome, walk away.    

Many times, a spreadsheet with ranges of revenue and cost will help.   A timeline with expandable decision points will instruct.   A one-page essay answering the question “If, a year from now, this thing fails, what will be the reason?” can be enlightening.   

But it only happens by asking the questions before making the decision. 


Click here to subscribe to Learning about Lean by email.


Ashvi said...

This blog in very informative for us

Anonymous said...

But it only happens by asking the questions before making the decision.