Obstacles are everywhere. They can stop progress for individuals, companies and even teams. The types of obstacles (or roadblocks) that you encounter can be planned for it you take a few minutes to prepare for them while you are in the planning stage of your project. You will need to run through many 'what-if' scenes. When you are in the middle of a change or into a project and encounter a roadblock, it will be difficult to properly think it through – you will get into a reactionary mode, so run through the scenarios in advance. Think of this as if you are on the line of the football field and have a drawing board in front of you and the situations pop – if he blocks left we need to do this, if they throw, we need to do that.
• People Obstacles – who are the people who will be negative or create dissention? Figure out how to get them on board by seeking their input, bouncing ideas around with them, asking them to participate. They may even have some expertise to tap into. This will help you spread the message and work the project when they are on board.
• Process Obstacles – how will you prepare for system breakdowns, process improvements that need tweaking for your specific team or area? What will you do to expect and avoid future issues? Think through each step in your plan and play the 'what if' scenario game. 'What if the marketing budget does not cover all of this – which are the priority items?' 'What if our deadline gets moved ahead, how will this timeline change?' The what-if scenario can be played on any item on the project whether it is a product or service or process or communication strategy.
• Mental Obstacles – we all can get in our own way. Think about what the worst thing is that could happen as a result of completing this project and at the same time, the best thing. It will give you two points to start with and you can find a comfortable space in between where you want the project to land. Play the 'what if' scenario here as well. 'What if I can not get Susie on-board?' then figure out who you can enlist to help out. Another big 'what-if': “what if I can not handle this?” Take a deep breath and think through what is causing this thought to come to the surface.
It is not easy running your own business, your own project or a team. You need to take time to consider the factors that could get in your way. This way you are prepared and can work through them should they arise. The great thing about anticipating obstacles in advance is you may even find a way to make sure they never crop up.