Ended: June 11, 2012
Instead, ask the project teams to compile a list of all the assumptions that have been made in those initial projections. Then ask them: “Which of these assumptions need to prove true in order for us to realistically expect that these numbers will materialize?” The assumptions on this list should be rank-ordered by importance and uncertainty. At the top of the list should be the assumptions that are most important and least certain, while the bottom of the list should be those that are least important and most certain. Only after you understand the relative importance of all the underlying assumptions should you green-light the team—but not in the way that most companies tend to do. Instead, find ways to quickly, and with as little expense as possible, test the validity of the most important assumptions. Once the company understands whether the initial important assumptions are likely to prove true, it can make a much better decision about whether to invest in this project or not.
Companies focus too much on what they want to sell their customers, rather than what those customers really need. What’s missing is empathy: a deep understanding of what problems customers are trying to solve. The same is true in our relationships: we go into them thinking about what we want rather than what is important to the other person. Changing your perspective is a powerful way to deepen your relationships.
the path to happiness is about finding someone who you want to make happy, someone whose happiness is worth devoting yourself to.
Thinking about your relationships from the perspective of the job to be done is the best way to understand what’s important to the people who mean the most to you. It allows you to develop true empathy. Asking yourself “What job does my spouse most need me to do?” gives you the ability to think about it in the right unit of analysis. When you approach your relationships from this perspective, the answers will become much more clear than they would by simply speculating about what might be the right thing to do. But you have to go beyond understanding what job your spouse needs you to do. You have to do that job. You’ll have to devote your time and energy to the effort, be willing to suppress your own priorities and desires, and focus on doing what is required to make the other person happy. Nor should we be timid in giving our children and our spouses the same opportunities to give of themselves to others. You might think this approach would actually cause resentment in relationships because one person is so clearly giving up something for the other. But I have found that it has the opposite effect. In sacrificing for something worthwhile, you deeply strengthen your commitment to it.
the factors that determine what a company can and cannot do—its capabilities—fall into one of three buckets: resources, processes, and priorities. These offer an accurate snapshot of a company at any given time, because they are mutually exclusive (a part of a business cannot fit into more than one of the categories) and are collectively exhaustive (together, the three categories account for everything inside of the business). Together, these capabilities are crucial in order to assess what a company can and, perhaps more important, cannot accomplish.
Understanding the three parts composing the purpose of my life—a likeness, a commitment, and a metric—is the most reliable way I know of to define for yourself what your purpose is, and to live it in your life every day.