When we're offered opportunities to take on new projects, prudence requires that we ensure the feasibility of taking them on. Because considering these offers sometimes occurs under time pressure or political pressure, it's useful to have at hand a framework for pondering such decisions. This post proposes a "personal feasibility" decision framework. It's a good start, but you probably would alter what's here or add dimensions to make it a good fit for you.
- If the opportunity entails delivering something of value to someone who will use it, ensure that you understand that user's needs, wants, and alternatives.
- Needs and wants are rarely identical. As compared to needs, it's usually easier to communicate with the user about wants, and more difficult to satisfy them. Alternatives are important because your offering competes with the alternatives. Ideally, you'll be offering to meet a previously unidentified want that's truly needed, and for which there are only inferior alternatives. No opportunity is ideal in this market dimension, but it's good to know how to recognize one when it comes along.
- Your own personal resources, or the anticipated resources the effort would need, must be available during the time period when they would be needed.
- Consider any personal commitments or organizational efforts that would compete with this opportunity for time and attention. If you discover conflicting opportunities or commitments, try to rearrange things. A small schedule change can sometimes resolve the conflict. If you're unable to resolve the conflict, undertaking the opportunity could be a risky move.
- Both the As compared to needs, it's usually easier
to communicate with the user about
wants, and more difficult to satisfy themorganization and you, personally, should already have — or should be able to acquire — all the knowledge, talent, or equipment required to exploit this opportunity successfully.
- If you can identify capability gaps, consider what might be needed to close them. Rank them in severity, realistically. Search carefully for deal-breakers. In your search, beware cognitive biases, especially if the opportunity is rare and desirable.
- The current array of resources, knowledge, talent, and equipment must be compatible with the needed resources, knowledge, talent, or equipment.
- If somehow you were to acquire all that's needed, those acquisitions would need to be compatible with whatever you now have. For example, if you're permitted to hire the people you need, would you have the budget required to cover the cost of additional software licenses? Would IT be willing and able to support the new software tools?
- Ensure that the probability of success is high enough, and foreseeable risks have been mitigated or can be mitigated.
- Investigate the risks associated with the opportunity. If undertaking this effort alters the risk profiles of other efforts, either underway or anticipated, verify that the alterations are acceptable. Risk, in this sense, includes risks associated with organizational politics.
Finally, consider organizational politics. The foundational concept of the effort needs to be compatible with accepted beliefs about the organization's mission and the roles of the people who would be doing the work. Assure yourself that any political obstacles that remain have plausible resolutions. Top Next Issue
Love the work but not the job? Bad boss, long commute, troubling ethical questions, hateful colleague? This ebook looks at what we can do to get more out of life at work. It helps you get moving again! Read Go For It! Sometimes It's Easier If You Run, filled with tips and techniques for putting zing into your work life. Order Now!
Your comments are welcomeWould you like to see your comments posted here? rbrenIyeJIiAfnGdKlUXrner@ChacsxirZwZlENmHUNHioCanyon.comSend me your comments by email, or by Web form.
About Point Lookout
Thank you for reading this article. I hope you enjoyed it and found it useful, and that you'll consider recommending it to a friend.
This article in its entirety was written by a human being. No machine intelligence was involved in any way.
Support Point Lookout by joining the Friends of Point Lookout, as an individual or as an organization.
Do you face a complex interpersonal situation? Send it in, anonymously if you like, and I'll give you my two cents.
More articles on Emotions at Work:
- You Remind Me of Helen Hunt
- At a dinner party I attended recently, Kris said to Suzanne, "You remind me of Helen Hunt."
I looked at Suzanne, and sure enough, she did look like Helen Hunt. Later, I noticed that I
was seeing Suzanne a little differently. These are the effects of hat hanging. At work, it can damage
careers and even businesses.
- When You Travel Alone
- Many of us travel as a part of our jobs, and some of us spend a fair amount of that time traveling solo.
Here are some tips for enlivening that time alone while you're traveling for work.
- Coping with Problems
- How we cope with problems is a choice. When we choose our coping style, we help determine our ability
to address the problems we face. Of eight styles we can identify, only one is universally constructive,
and we rarely use it.
- Why Scope Expands: I
- Scope creep is depressingly familiar. Its anti-partner, spontaneous and stealthy scope contraction,
has no accepted name, and is rarely seen. Why?
- Quips That Work at Work: II
- Humor, used effectively, can defuse tense situations. Here's Part II of a set of guidelines for using
humor to defuse tension and bring confrontations, meetings, and conversations back to a place where
thinking can resume.
Forthcoming issues of Point Lookout
- Coming February 28: Checklists: Conventional or Auditable
- Checklists help us remember the steps of complex procedures, and the order in which we must execute them. The simplest form is the conventional checklist. But when we need a record of what we've done, we need an auditable checklist. Available here and by RSS on February 28.
- And on March 6: Six More Insights About Workplace Bullying
- Some of the lore about dealing with bullies at work isn't just wrong — it's harmful. It's harmful in the sense that applying it intensifies the bullying. Here are six insights that might help when devising strategies for dealing with bullies at work. Example: Letting yourself be bullied is not a thing. Available here and by RSS on March 6.
I offer email and telephone coaching at both corporate and individual rates. Contact Rick for details at rbrenIyeJIiAfnGdKlUXrner@ChacsxirZwZlENmHUNHioCanyon.com or (650) 787-6475, or toll-free in the continental US at (866) 378-5470.
Get the ebook!
Past issues of Point Lookout are available in six ebooks:
- Get 2001-2 in Geese Don't Land on Twigs (PDF, )
- Get 2003-4 in Why Dogs Wag (PDF, )
- Get 2005-6 in Loopy Things We Do (PDF, )
- Get 2007-8 in Things We Believe That Maybe Aren't So True (PDF, )
- Get 2009-10 in The Questions Not Asked (PDF, )
- Get all of the first twelve years (2001-2012) in The Collected Issues of Point Lookout (PDF, )
Are you a writer, editor or publisher on deadline? Are you looking for an article that will get people talking and get compliments flying your way? You can have 500-1000 words in your inbox in one hour. License any article from this Web site. More info