The Next Meaningful Step

What is the next meaningful step? No project will get anywhere without this question. No change will be effected, no experiment attempted. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. What’s the next meaningful step?

If nobody is asking the question, it has to come from you. The answer doesn’t, though. It might; you might feel strongly about the next meaningful step. Or, just as likely, you might not. If nobody does, then maybe the thing you’re talking about isn’t really a thing.

A second question is equally important: who’s going to do it? If you don’t assign responsibility for the next meaningful step, the chances of it being completed are very small. Actually, “assign” is the wrong word. It’s about ownership. Somebody has to own the outcome of the next meaningful step because they care about it. Here again, that might be you. If it is, you should take the permission and own it; I’ve been in lots of exciting conversations that went nowhere because none of us felt authorized to own the next meaningful step.

We’re all authorized, as long as we care.

If nobody owns the next meaningful step, then the thing you’re talking about isn’t a thing, at least not yet.

One more thought on this. Collecting information often feels like a more meaningful step than it actually is.

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