When organizations, departments or teams sit together at the end of an out-going year to think about the goals and strategies for the up-coming year, they need to be creative – so that they can come up with new and exciting products, solutions or processes that will add value to their stakeholders/customer and themselves.
One particular area of creativity that organizations, departments and teams have to focus on is in being clear about their goals and priorities. You may come up with scores of different ideas and options based on what your competitors are offering, what your customers are clamouring for or what your regulators are insisting on, but truly creative people don’t do everything that is possible, they make strategic trade-offs – focusing on some things while letting go or deferring others.
You can clarify your priorities by putting them through a conditional filter called ‘The 3 Is’ which considers three factors in selecting a project, cause or strategic direction that aligns with your aspirations, as follows:
If you decide to pursue this strategic direction or course of action, do you have influence over most aspects of the outcome of this project? Or are most of the outcomes influenced by factors that are completely outside your control? The more influence you have over the outcome, the more aligned the project or cause is with your organizational/team goals.
To what extent are you and your team members intrinsically motivated and interested in this project? Is it something that you find worth doing even if you didn’t make a profit or earn an income doing it, or is it purely opportunistic, and would only be valuable to you because it creates revenue or profit for you? The more intrinsically motivated you are towards a particular project, the more it fits into your strategy.
This final “I” is about the extent to which that project will stretch your creative abilities as a team. The larger the extent to which it will stretch and challenge you and your colleagues, the more value it will create for you and your stakeholders.