Make It Routine

When you are delivering a project, you are delivering change. The purpose of a project is to create something new and unique that you didn’t have before. The problem is that most people aren’t comfortable with change. We can’t see how the future will play out, and we try to head to a place where we are sure that we will be safe. Our desire for safety keeps us from harm. The same shelter-seeking behaviour prevents us from capturing the next opportunity.

If you are a project leader, or even if you are trying to make sure that you don’t personally miss an opportunity, you can focus on the routine. What is the routine that you have to assign team members work? What are your routines for accepting completed work? What routines do you have for praise and feedback on tasks? What are people looking forward to? What hard routines do you know that they are consistently avoiding?

In North America, there is a lot of value placed on spontaneity and innovation, but you can’t have this disruption without solid underlying routines. You don’t want your heart to be innovative and decide to pump every third beat. You don’t want your muscles to try something new and only provide 1/3 of the energy they did yesterday. You need to have routines that people can expect to lean on. The more you have a foundation of routines that people can count on, the more they will be willing to grasp the opportunities that come from non-routine items.


The word routines can be substituted with the word processes or target conditions (from lean manufacturing.) Routines, processes, or target conditions are steps that are anticipated, can be measured, and are the same day-after-day.