To be successful in business, people are all generally agreed that tenacity and persistence are essential, the ability to stick to our goals in the face of setbacks and obstacles. Although this is basically true, there are times when the payoff may actually be greater if we reassess our efforts to make sure we are not wasting our time and to change course if we need to.
Here are a few situations where a course correction may be needed when working on a project.
1. Missing other opportunities
In other words, by continuing on your present course, you are actually losing out on other more valuable opportunities. The time you are spending on your current project, for minimal return, could better be utilized on other things for a greater reward.
As an analogy, if you are in a sinking boat spending all of your time bailing to stay afloat, it might be time to consider getting another boat.
2. Not coordinated with your overall goals
You may have begun a project for all the right reasons. But over time, the overarching goals of the company may have shifted in another direction, and as a result, the goals of the project no longer match those of the company as a whole. You need to regularly reassess the purpose of the project to ensure it is supporting the overall goals of the company, and if it is not, it probably is time to pull the plug on it.
3. No movement forward
Another problem could be that you are not making any progress, simply spinning your wheels. You are encountering a lot of obstacles. This is another good time to stop and reassess. Why are you hitting all of these stumbling blocks? It could be that your project has moved into an area that people are unfamiliar with and there is a learning curve involved, which on balance is a good thing.
It could be, however, that you have simply hit a dead end, that there is nowhere else to go, nothing left to do. The project simply did not produce the results you wanted. This is a sign again that it is time to pull the plug.
As a corollary to this, also think about the end result. If finishing the project will add little value to the operations of the company, is it worth continuing?
4. No enthusiasm
Are people just having trouble getting excited about it? This also could be a sign of more serious problems that need to be examined and may necessitate stopping the project.