Whenever you launch a project, or develop a new idea, there are two questions you should never ask at the start: 1) How much will it cost? and 2) When will it be ready? Sadly, once those two questions are on the table, they tend to drive every creative idea, corporate decision, advertising campaign, and nonprofit cause.
Creative leaders know that the initial questions asked at the start of a project can help or haunt that project because they stay in people’s minds and hover over the entire process. So when you let budgets and deadlines drive your thinking, you get ideas that can easily be paid for and delivered – not ideas that change the world.
And very often, when asked too soon, fear steps in and the project is dropped or changed to something else entirely. In other words, we settle for something less. That’s why consultant Peter Block says, “The most common rationalization for doing things we do not believe is that what we really desire either takes too long or costs too much.”
Next time you develop ideas, launch a project or meet about a new initiative, give it a little space. Think beyond the budget and deadline boundaries, and see what happens. Obviously budget and deadlines matter, but when they lead the discussion, they diminish the creative possibilities.
Open yourself up. See what could happen if there were no limits. Because you never know – the ideas that result could be so great, it would force you to upgrade your budget and push your deadline.