From the outside, everything looks good. A compelling vision, enough funding, great minds, appropriate timescales.

“So what’s the problem? Why aren’t we moving forward.”

On the inside, even a budget of millions might not be enough to deliver on our ambition. We don’t know where to start and we don’t know what to do with the money. The project isn’t even off the ground and we’re already looking for excuses.

#3 – Money worries

The fear: There’s too much to do. Our funding looks like a lot but if you spread it out over everything, it really isn’t. We’ll run out of cash and will have wasted all that time and effort.

The unspoken fear: Are we out of our depth?

The safety mechanism: Wrangling over details. Who get’s the money, how do make decisions, who has influence, how do we organise, where can we find more money? Governance issues, reporting lines, process, control.

The hope: Maybe bureaucracy will save us from ourselves. (Spoiler: It won’t.)

The upshot: Wasted time, planning for plans, loss of enthusiasm, atrophy.

What to do about it

Enter the shallows.

Look for a starter project that makes a good first step … something small that gets you working together, doesn’t cost much, has limited scope and can absolutely be delivered in less than a hundred days. Look for something that gives you leverage for the next stage, that isn’t dependent on anyone outside the group, and will create positive feedback.

Take the learning, build on success.

In the early days, moving even vaguely in the right direction is more important than getting everything right. Prioritise progress over process.

Skippy Strategy: Big things get stuck going through narrow gaps. Break them down into smaller pieces until you learn how to make space.