It is not always easy to think about tomorrow. The next day, most of the times is a puzzle to be solved, if not a problem for most of the people!

Think About Tomorrow!

Tomorrow, you have to pay bills; tomorrow, you have to attend a school event; tomorrow, you have to prepare the financial report for a client, at work; tomorrow, you have to go to the doctor, for that check up you postponed for so long; tomorrow, you have to do something, or go somewhere! But tomorrow is never too far away!

In fact, tomorrow starts with what you are doing now!

The Future Belongs To Whom He/She Prepares It!

I was a junior project manager in a telecommunication project (my first or second one, I think, as the responsible project manager!) when, for the first time, I had to argue (and justify) about my decisions on the next steps we have to follow for the implementation of the project.

The scopes and objectives of the project has been set, by the contract, as well as the time-plan (a very strict one, as I recall now!) But the action plan, it was the one I have designed and submitted to the clients, and, at the time, it was a little bit odd for the current project implementation standards!

You see, the action plan, I was to justify, had two very radical (and ambitious) elements in its core:

  1. Social synergies with social and communities agents, and
  2. Corporate responsibility, towards the communities market agents, the project would eventually influence.

Both the activities, at a corporate level, mean one thing; extra cost! A cost, the client was not willing to pay, even though, he had agreed, that the ROI (Return on Investment)  would be potentially large, for the company.

Problem! Especially in the face of the implementation of the well-received project, that arguably would bring large benefits, not only to the company but to the community, as well!

Planning Is What You Do Today

Most people would think, that you cannot argue with the client! But I was a young, and ambitious, project manager! I had designed the project, I believed in the benefits it would yield, and I was not ready to leave it without a good defensive line.

To make the long story short, I had 3 options:

  • To “forget” (or rather “omit”) all the activities that brought the problem (i.e. the synergies and the corporate responsibility activities)
  • To limit these activities, in a size that would not cause any “financial” problems, and
  • To keep the things as they were and find the necessary resources for implementing the project, as it been designed!

Execute On What You Have Decide

What I have done was to prepare for the client and presenting to him, a financial workflow of resources and activities that would bring the same result for a limited cost. For doing so, I had prepared:

  • A more detailed ROI sheet
  • A sub-activities (supporting activities!) plan, that would promote the social, community and corporate responsibility issues, with limited cost and by building strategic alliances with local authorities and agents
  • A dissemination results proposal, that I was certain would bring must more profit to the clients (and not only from a financial point of view)
  • A detailed re-estimated project implementation budget with the new data and resources that would participate in the project’s financial mix
  • My company’s affirmation that these activities would not disturb either the budget, or the corporation’s position in the market, or the timetable or the project’s implementation plan!

The result was, that, the client, after some deliberation of my arguments, accept all the propositions have made. The project was a success, and I was happy with the result but especially happier because I didn’t have to “chop off” parts of the project.

Think About Tomorrow!

What have I learned from that experience? First, that not everything is white or black, on or off, but there are a lot of opportunities between these points, and second, that you have to be certain, what problems you try to solve.

My problem was not that the client didn’t want to have synergies with the local market and society or to exert corporate responsibility. My problem was to persuade the client for activities that were too novel at the time and had a cost, the company was not ready to pay. You see the difference!

When I change my view from the logic on/off to fuzzy logic (between the 0 and 1, there are a lot more numbers!) I was able to see the view of my client (from his perspective) and shift my propositions to terms the client could understand and accept.

It was not so much a problem of what I was thinking about, it was a problem of how I think it! During this project, I learn that the future is prepared NOW and you should be pro-active when you pursue your objectives!

So, how do you think, about tomorrow?

Question: What do you do today, for bringing closer the future you want to live in? Do you find it difficult, to think about tomorrow? How do you think about tomorrow for having the results you want?