JP Rule #1: Do or do not. There is no try.

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In honor of May 4, a sacred day among Star Wars fans (because George Lucas released all of the Star War movies on May 4th), I’m blogging about my Rule #1: Do or do not. There is no try.

Clearly, I did not make up this rule. It’s Yoda’s rule. But it’s a damn good rule, especially in business.

Here’s what I know: Clients don’t come to us so we can TRY to develop the complicated web application they need. They need us to do it. And they need to know that we will be successful and the end result will be close to what they envisioned.

I learned a long time ago that when assigning tasks that must get done, I don’t ask staff if they can do it. I provide background, then ask what they need to get the project done, what obstacles are in their way, and how I can support them. And when I get, “I’ll try,” I remind them that “I’ll try” is not a commitment and it’s not a promise, it’s a half-hearted “maybe” or a definite “no.”

Now, if we’re brainstorming, assessing options or exploring whether or not we can accomplish something, then I ask if we (Matrix Group) can do it. And it’s perfectly legit to say, “I’ll try.”

So what happens if someone (me included) doesn’t know exactly how to get the required task accomplished and can’t quite commit to it just yet? In that case, I ask people to give me a plan that details what they are going to do so they will know and can commit to a timeline and budget.

In Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Yoda lifts Luke’s starfighter from the swamp. An incredulous Luke says, “I don’t believe it.” To which Yoda retorts, “that is why you fail.” Like Yoda, my best developers, front-end developers, designers, admins, project managers (yada, yada) believe they can accomplish ridiculously hard tasks under ridiculous deadlines. That is why they succeed.

One thought on “JP Rule #1: Do or do not. There is no try.

  1. I’ll have to credit you for promoting this as your #1 rule – 10+ years of this being the mantra made a lot of things happen for me, including becoming a published writer. :)

    So, thanks!

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