I recently read an article by Rosabeth Moss Kanter titled “Change is Hardest in the Middle” that clearly illustrated to me why so many of us get frustrated when we are halfway to achieving a goal. Kanter is a professor at Harvard who specializes in strategy, innovation, and small organizations world wide.
Kanter notes that it is when we are in the middle of a change the feelings of failure emerge. In her words: “Everyone loves inspiring beginnings and working through the problems can lead to success.
There are of course times when it is time to pull out and when it is time to move on. Kanter has some great questions to examine when looking at the viability of completing a project:
• Tune into the environment. What has changed since you began the initiative? Do the original assumptions hold? Is the need still there?
• Check the vision. Does the idea still feel inspiring? Is it big enough to make extra efforts worthwhile?
• Test support. Are supporters still enthusiastic about the mission? Will new partners join the initiative?
• Examine progress. Have promises been kept and silence critics?
• Search for synergies. Can the project work well with other activities? Can it be enhanced by alliances?
So if you find yourself in the middle of deciding whether to aband realize that getting stuck in the middle is a part of being successful. And if it time to move on, realize that the last project was not a complete failure, but a stepping stone to your next successful endeavor.