Persistence is a lauded value in the work world. However, there is a point of diminishing return – where your or your team’s output of time and effort is not matched by the return you receive. How do you discern when to stop “trying”? One way is to be alert for that point of diminishing return. Are you putting out a lot of time and effort without the results you want? Are you trying again and again and no one is responding? Is your persistence negatively affecting morale? It is natural to try harder, but you do not want to do so blindly. You want to be aware of signs along the way that cue you into the value of your investment of time and effort. Such signs can be: you are not getting the attention of the people you need to; the project is not progressing at a reasonable rate or you are getting increasingly negative feedback on what you are doing.
At the start of a project, create a tool that allows you and your team to continuously measure the return you are getting. Measure such things as stakeholder and internal response to your project, progress on milestones, team morale and enthusiasm for project, ratio of output to return in terms of your time and effort, relevance of project goals as the project progresses, opposition to project or roots of any obstacles you encounter.
Time is precious and you don’t want to waste it. Effort can be redirected and goals or approaches revised when you need to do so. Make your “trying again” fruitful, not pointless.
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