The WHAT Test.
Over the years, I have found numerous uses for this simple strategy of thought. The WHAT Test is an acronym of steps to force you to think through how committed everyone involved actually is to a project, relationship or goal. It doesn’t ensure success, but it can help you avoid the disappointment of not having thoroughly thought about the agreed upon direction and level of commitment before you begin.
Here’s The WHAT Test:Where
Where do you want to go? It sounds simple, but it’ serially not. Many times when one person is ready to celebrate success another thinks you’re just getting started. Talk through the end goal. What do you want to accomplish? Collectively define a win. Make sure it is very clear up front where you want to go and how you will know when you’ve “arrived” at your intended destination.
How will you get there? What’s the plan? What are the steps to get us to our goal? Who is going to do what? Who’s responsible? Who’s in charge of what? What are the necessary steps involved? This is where you ensure there is a strategy in place.
Are all parties in complete agreement with the previous two? This is critical. Don’t neglect this important step. Don’t move forward without knowing everyone is on board. Many times we agree to a vision on the front end and have reservations once the actual strategy is in place. It’s good to renew agreement before proceeding.
This may be the most important one. I always ask: Are you willing to pay the price to see it through? This is almost a covenant agreement type step – and may even involve an actual covenant. Most great ideas fail – not because they weren’t great ideas – but because no one had the commitment to see them through. This can be especially true when relationships are involved. Decide on the front end all parties have a “whatever it takes” attitude. This will save you many headaches and heartaches down the road.
Obviously, each of these have multiple layers to them, but this exercise always seems to shake out some of the initial reservations which may not have been spoken and avoids some of the personal obstacles which may otherwise occur.
Let me give you a few examples of when I’ve used this:
- Working with a couple trying to rebuild their relationship – could be after an affair or serious breach in trust has occurred.
- Prior to attempting a difficult project or assignment.
- Before a business partnership is formed.
At the beginning of any important venture – Take the WHAT Test
WHAT you are trying to accomplish will seem more attainable when you can easily pass the The WHAT Test.
There are dozens of applications for this simple formula, but the point is strategically thinking through these steps will help protect, build or rebuild relationships – plus help all parties avoid disappointment.