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When I first begin working with clients they bring me a bag full of puzzle pieces and throw them down in front of me. They have no idea how everything fits together. While conventional wisdom says to start with the edges, sometimes their pieces don’t even contain so much as a corner. Managing roles and responsibilities, along with managing a team, can be overwhelming. When feelings of “I don’t know where to begin” come over I tell each and every one of my clients to start at the beginning. How do you do that? Using the puzzle analogy, let’s take a look.

1. Separate your puzzle pieces by color. Look at all you have to do and see what can be grouped together. You should be able to start seeing where all your time and energy is going.
2. Should all the pieces be a part of your puzzle? Sometimes we have a hard time letting go. Even though we know we should we can’t help but hold on tight to everything. We are afraid to let go of what we know in order to replace it with something that fits better.
3. Start putting the puzzle pieces together. What do you have to do to make everything fit? Are there processes that need to be streamlined? How about tasks that you can completely get rid of? Do you have random pieces that don’t belong anywhere? By starting to examine and piece everything together you should be able to see what belongs…and what doesn’t.
4. Move the puzzle pieces to the rightful owner. You have a team. You have a support group. Use them. When you make the choice to not use your resources you are wasting time, energy, and money. Stop doing this. Instead, empower those around you to take ownership of their pieces. You may be surprised and what their puzzle looks like once they are finished putting it together.
5. Once the puzzle is put together refrain from buying a new one. It must be human nature to change up everything. All too often I see teams starting to come together and someone comes in and decides to change everything. Don’t do this. Refine what you have. Make your puzzle 1000 pieces as opposed to 500. But whatever you do don’t completely start over.

Think about the last time you put a puzzle together. Remember how satisfying it was to put the last piece in it’s place?

Imagine the same feeling in your world…as you figure out where each piece goes!