The 80% Approach by Dan Sullivan is an interesting ebook about a process I call “planned evolution.” The idea (in my terms) is that you first complete a “quick and dirty” version of a project (a mockup, a draft, a sketch, etc.) then improve it with each succeeding generation. Each version is completed relatively quickly. You stop when the project is good enough.
(For more on “planned evolution,” see my recorded class, “Getting Your Mind Around It
.” A similar idea is discussed in The Lean Startup
by Eric Ries.)
Sullivan made a fascinating point about this process: it is hugely beneficial for teams. He argued you shouldn’t even schedule a meeting about a project unless someone has completed a “quick and dirty” version of it.
Why? Here’s my take on it:
First, if you have a draft or rough version, it focuses your discussion. It is much easier to give feedback on something concrete and specific than something abstract and vague. This is also the best time to get feedback–it’s early in the process, before much time has been invested.
Second, a rough version makes it easy to hand off the project to someone else for next steps (for example, for editing or final design). Your teammate can easily understand what is needed, because he or she sees the abstract ideas in a concrete form.
Third, because you did a quick and dirty version, your teammate gets the handoff sooner. You didn’t get bogged down in making it perfect–you left that for the specialist. That means you didn’t become the bottleneck in the project.
These benefits mean that “planned evolution” (or Dan Sullivan’s “The 80% Approach”) helps you take full advantage of the team. You communicate better about the project, you hand off the work more effectively, and none of you holds up the other. It reduces procrastination and perfectionism throughout the team.
After reading this book, I am changing the way I meet with my assistant and my coach. From now on, we don’t meet unless we have a quick & dirty “something” to discuss.
II. Smarter Execution Teleseminar April 25 at Noon Eastern
When you set a goal, start work, and then nothing goes as planned, what do you do? How do you avoid getting bogged down? You know you need to keep moving forward, but how?
Whether the problem seems to be confusion or conflict, procrastination or perfectionism, you need a process to help you identify a good next step and take it. You need a process that can keep you making progress.
In this FREE 1-hour teleseminar you will learn:
- Why you get caught in that murky muddle in the middle
- The five-tactic sequence that gets you making progress
- The way to ensure you have the willpower you need to move forward without strain, struggle, or suppressing your feelings
Sign up now! Everyone who signs up will get a special bonus in addition. This presentation is one hour, then I’ll stay on the phone answering questions for up to 30 more minutes.
III. Related Articles on the Thinking Directions Site
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