The difference between “Can it be done?” and “Will it last?”

I heard Bob Goff a few weeks ago at the IF Gathering. (Will write a whole other posts about the event it was incredible). He said something that made me think long and hard about the work that I do.

Instead of asking, “Can we do it? Ask, will it last?”  — Bob Goff

And this from his book Love Does.

“No one is remembered for what they’ve planned  to do.” — Bob Goff, Love Does

When you frame the question like that, the perspective on building something greater than yourself becomes apparent.

If you think back on my last post about the renovations. If we just did everything we could do, especially if we just did the cheapest of everything, versus thinking about what would truly last… our house in a few years from now would look different, we might have to re-do the things that we did, or things might be falling apart because of just doing what we could afford.

However, I don’t want to get myself tripped up with the concept of “perfection” or over planning (without action) for making something last. I think we can build and create with the intention that we won’t always be the ones to carry the torch to the next year/month/level.

Something I try to keep in the back of my mind, “what if there’s a new person to this team, how could they be knowledgable enough to take over and keep things moving?” and if we haven’t created a way for that to happen, then thats my fault, and we need to work on making it last.

It more than just “scaling”. Its seems as if this word gets a knock in the “start up” world.  I think creating something that more than one person can enjoy, is necessary, but if we create and build for the scale as you go, it helps down the road when the masses and virality takes over.

Its almost like when you build a training program, you have to think about it in the context of what is the basics to design that will last more than one class. Its very different to design a program where 10 people complete it vs. when 10,000 people go through it. I wonder if we would shift our mental thought process if we dreamed when we designed, like the “what if 10,000 people came/went/saw/learned this?” how would that change the way you would design. Even if you didn’t need 10,000 people to do something, could adjusting perspective help your thinking for making something last?

While working at Hootsuite I created a workshop we hosted last fall. Its interesting, because as I designed and created it, I knew I would be able to repeat it or similarly with other customers, but thats not what I fully intended. I needed a quick workshop to serve a specific audience. Sure enough, we’ve done the workshop a handful of times since then and its proven that it can last. Is every part of it repeated? No, but there are things that can be easily repeatable, and adjusted for the context and audience.

#cvhNY power user

As I build new programs and design new courseware or create new environments or opportunities for people to connect and learn, I want to think about the lasting impact it will have, beyond just any scrappy thing I can pull together. And I can do scrappy, when something quick and dirty needs to be pulled off, but in the long run how could I build that scrappy thing to last?

What are you working on that will last?

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