It’s August and summer projects beckon. This summer, my wife and I decided to build a rack to store our two kayaks and niece’s paddle board close to the lake. We first thought about this last summer, when we locked our kayaks to a big tree. Although the tree was secure, it was not very convenient.
After the initial idea phase last summer, we discussed alternatives of what kind of rack we wanted to build and where to put it. As we paddled along the shore, we inspected other people’s racks and got some ideas.
After the research phase, we selected our site, and drew up a plan. Frank Lloyd Wright, a famous architect, says one of his most powerful tools is an eraser. So, we used the eraser on our initial plan, drew up another plan, and kept modifying it until it made sense.
Projects often require new tools, yay! I bought a new cordless drill, hammer drill, reciprocating saw, and a chainsaw, because there is no electricity lakeside.
If you haven’t bought cordless tools lately, they are much lighter and more powerful than tools of yore. This is a great use of technology. The batteries have lots of power, come in different sizes to give you more tool time, and recharge quickly.
“We become what we behold. We shape our tools and then our tools shape us.”
With the fun tool buying process completed, it was time to get to work. Using an old fashioned post hole digger, I dug a couple of holes in the ground (and don’t plan on doing that again for a while). We sunk the 4×4 posts, my eagle-eyed wife made sure the posts were level, we added some quick cement, braced the posts into a vertical position, and left them to set properly.
On the following weekend, we worked from the bottom up: added a foot brace and a back brace, added high capacity shelving brackets, leveled the brackets, added a 2×4 on top of the bracket, and we had a shelf.
Next, I loaded the kayak rack with cables and locked everything to the shelf brackets and rack.
At this point, we consulted with a professional – our niece’s boyfriend and a P.Eng., Dustin. He gave us some tips about additional support to the structure with cables. Brilliant! We are definitely going to consult with Dustin during the planning phase for our next project, which is building a deck near the lake.
This was a small and relatively simple project.
In business, where there is much more money and importance at stake, do you follow the same steps we did above?
Project planning and implementation model
Those steps are:
- Determine the objective.
- Generate an idea, ideally in discussion with a professional so you’re preventing mistakes and not making major adjustments at the end.
- Get buy-in and support for the idea, meaning that everyone, or the majority, agree on the objective.
- Brainstorm alternatives.
- Conduct research on alternatives.
- Decide on an alternative.
- Make a plan.
- Develop a plan to implement the alternative so that everyone can visualize success, understands the definition of success, and knows how they contribute to success.
- Acquire knowledge, resources, and tools to implement the idea in accordance with the plan.
- Implement the plan.
- Begin implementation, and make real-time adjustments along the way.
- Evaluate and adjust.
- Test the final construct and make more adjustments as necessary.
The single most powerful lesson that I learned from my MBA was that two or more brains are much better than one. Although one brain might get things done more quickly, two brains will get things done much better.
“It’s not the tools that you have faith in – tools are just tools. They work, or they don’t work. It’s people you have faith in or not.”
What projects have you taken on this summer, either personally or in business? Let me know by email.
I hope your plans and projects are as successful as our kayak rack!
Full speed ahead!
Thanks for reading.