Way back in the early ninties I started writing down some of what I was learning from experiences with technology, business, and other people. Over the years, I kept writing, sometimes publicly, sometimes just notes and scribbles. From time to time I pull one of my notebooks out to review something applicable to what I'm working on, or just to keep my thoughts up-to-date. When occasion arises I offer up my tidbits to friends or colleagues in situations where my advice or counsel has been sought. And it so happens, I've had more than a few people remark that they appreciated my input. Which I guess goes to show you that not everyone wants to learn things the hard way. If someone can take a shortcut and not repeat the glorious chaos of my experiences then I'm glad to offer them up. Since I have a minute today, I thought I'd get started with one of my overview tidbits.
One of the foundational writings I did was The 5-D Approach to Anything (sm). The 5-Ds are Dream, Document, Design, Develop and Deploy.
It's pretty simple really. Not as simple as "Is it plugged in? And turned on?" which by the way works in almost every stalled situation (people included!), but the concept is straightforward. Follow the 5-Ds and you will increase your chances of success in any venture. The idea applies pretty much everywhere, you just have to follow the steps. For software, companies, and finance there are 6-D and even 7-D additions, let me know if you'd like the customized extras. For now, here's a quick overview of The 5-D Approach to Anything.
Start with the goal, the ideal, the vision. If you don't know where you are going, how will you get there? If you don't know what you want, how can you achieve it? You've heard all this positive visualization crap before. This is pretty much the same. Let you mind be free to just imagine, envision, and well...dream.
In almost every aspect of human interaction, something can't be real unless it is written down. That's why we have contracts, records, music scores, books, formulas, and even math. So write down your dream. Excruciating detail helps, but blocks and arrows, bullet points, napkin scratchings, and even audio recordings are all valid ways to document. Just get it down in some concrete form so you can share it.
Once you have something concrete that represents what you are going for, you can share that with the people who can help you attain your goal. Maybe those are your friends if the goal is personal. It's probably your financial planner if the goal is monetary. Your employees and colleagues if the goal is career-oriented. It's an engineer or architect if you want something built or constructed. It's an editor if you want your book published, a personal trainer if you want to lose weight, or it's your banker if you want a line of credit. See where this is going? These are people who can refine your approach. Who can help you attack your problem, or obtain your goal, or make your ideas real.
You know what you are trying to accomplish, you've made it real, you've shared the goal, and refined your plan. The people who need to be motivated and working can now being executing against the design you've laid out. That might mean a mason can start laying brick, your broker can start buying stock, or you can head to the gym with confidence. Whatever the doing step (or steps) of the plan might be, now is the time to get down to it. Unleash the activities and charge forward.
With the execution over, you can do the most important step. Share. If it's your money you earned, enjoy it. If it was time you freed up, relish it. New body? Show it off! Amazing product? Sell the snot out of it. Company growing? Raises all around! You see, once you get to where you were going, it's important to take that look around and appreciate the journey. Assess the situation and make sure you like the view. Learn from any mistakes, accept any blame, forgive any missteps. Breathe a sigh, raise a glass and get some sleep. Tomorrow you'll do it all again.
The 5-Ds are easy to master, but not obvious. When you slow down and ensure you spend time on each step, you can make sure you aren't forgetting something crucial to your success. Things like taking time to involve the right people, soliciting good advice, listening to your own reasons, celebrating your successes, sharing rewards with the deserving, and even being accountable for when you do screw up. These are things that will attract good partners and friends and will ensure repeated success.