One of my projects as a Peace Corps volunteer was to build a 12m long bridge in the mountains around Kara, Togo. We worked a couple of days a week with just volunteer labor. Some days the work went fast, others it dragged on. On one particular day, we had the abutments and central column nearly complete. While others were working on the masonry, I became distracted by the light flow of water through the stream. It wasn’t rainy season, so the stream wasn’t wider than half a meter. I became distracted by the stream and decided to rearrange the rocks to allow the water to flow faster. As I worked on the stream, I convinced myself that this work was important because it would allow the water to flow faster and limit the flooding.
Congratulations on your new assignment. Whether this is your first stint as a project director or if you have done it many times, this is an exciting moment. We are glad to have hired you. You have a chance to make a significant difference in this new endeavor. If it is a brand new project, then you are facing the challenge of coloring in a blank slate. If it is an ongoing project, then you have the opportunity to push it in new directions.
We expect you to do more than to keep the project on track, write reports, and balance the project's checkbook (although you must do these three perfectly!). We selected you because we need someone exceptional to make our work remarkable. To get you off on the right foot, I suggest that you start by focusing on the following challenges: