You’ve been the lead on a big project. You inspired and encouraged your team. You planned carefully and stayed within budget. You’ve tried to be a big thinker while paying attention to details. All seems to be in order for the final presentation, but you have an uneasy feeling that something isn’t quite right. Are you just tired, or is there really something you missed?
You and the team are anxious to have the project finished and on your boss’ desk, You don’t want to make extra work for your team or take a chance on missing the deadline. You consult with a trusted colleague who tells you not to start second guessing yourself at this point, that the solution you have will be good enough.
Yet, you can’t let that nagging feeling go. You decide to gather your team for a short rethinking session. Together you carefully walk through the project dynamics and each decision point that was necessary to arrive at your current outcome. The review leads to a questionable issue. After discussion, it is determined that one area was based on incorrect data. Fixing it will take some effort, but by catching the error now, the team will have prevented a future problem, possibly a project failure.
What’s the value in rethinking? Yes, you may discover an error, but it goes even deeper than that. Deliberate rethinking may help you be more innovative, or make you look at an issue in a new way. It may challenge you to be more deliberate or more logical, more creative or more detailed.
Too often, rethinking is viewed negatively, like being a “Monday morning quarterback,” or as simple second guessing and giving in to insecurities or performance anxiety. It shouldn’t be characterized in that way. Many projects or programs fail because of one bad decision. When the outcome is important, rethinking should be considered a regular team tool.