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Maintain Momentum

Call the Crux to Cut Through the Chaos

The Crux to a Better Week

Have you ever had one of those weeks where you thought you were going to have a good week, but somewhere along the way you get stuck? Perhaps you got blindsided on a project, or maybe it was a problem that turned out to be way worse than you expected.

Here is a framework to look preemptively at the challenges you’re facing. This four-step process can help you overcome the challenges ahead and be successful in spite of them.

You can remember the process by the acronym CRUX.

Watch my video or read the highlights below to learn more about CRUX.

C is for crux.

Crux, a fairly uncommon word in the English language, means the most decisive or important point at issue. Crux is a word we use in the climbing world consistently. Whether it’s a little climb in your backyard area or something massive halfway around the world, we always ask, “What is the crux of this effort?” As climbers we want to know what we are up against.

For planning your week, the crux might be difficult travel or many meetings. The week might seem absolutely overwhelming, but if you step back and ask thet crux question, “What is the most difficult expected challenge I’m going to face this week?” that can give you incredible clarity.

Identify what you expect to be the most challenging aspect of the week. Then focus an extra amount of effort on coming up with specific tactics around that expected crux issue, so that you can be successful.

R is for recovery.

Come up with a recovery or retreat plan. If things don’t go well with this crux, how will you recover from it? One extra tip: make sure that you write this down on a piece of paper or type it up. It’s amazing when you get things out of your head and on paper how freeing it is. That is because the emotions in our head and the concern can really wash away when we see the facts.

The fact is if this happens and you are not able to overcome this challenge, then you need a retreat plan. That’s really helpful and can give you an incredible amount of confidence going into the project or the week or whatever you’re focused on.

U is for utilizing your resources.

To handle this crux, what’s your dream team? Who do you need onboard? Especially if this is beyond the scope of the normal project team. You might need to bring in some extra help to deal with this potentially challenging problem you expect to be the most difficult thing you will face.

Also, what else can you do to stack things in your favor? Timing is a big one that is often overlooked. I’ve seen shifts in just a couple of days or hours make a really significant difference in dealing with the crux and mitigating that risk.

I’m not saying you should put off every project. Just truly understanding the resources needed can really will make a big difference.

X is for execute.

The key to execution is to get started before you’re ready, even if it is just in a small way. Don’t let it be overwhelming because if we think about all those steps, it’s just too much. What are a few small actions you can take immediately to get moving in that direction? That will make a huge difference.

How to Put CRUX to Work for Teams

Here is how to apply the CRUX approach in a team setting. Think of it as a three-step process.

First step, once you define and let them know what a crux is and why it’s important, ask the team: “What is the crux for us?” Let’s call the crux out for this week or this project. “What are we facing? What are we up against?” The team will tell you.

Second step, ask team members what they are the least comfortable with. That works really well on one-on-ones for personal growth and development. You could encourage someone, and you don’t have to be their official leader to do this. Challenge them to step up and say, “What are you most uncomfortable with?”

Third step, ask about biggest fears. What is your biggest fear as we roll into this week, this effort, this project? Get biggest fear out on the table.

Summing Up

It is very powerful to shine a light on the crux, the fears, the discomfort, and then come up with the retreat plan in case it doesn’t work. Then build momentum by utilizing resources and executing before you’re ready. This approach is going to help you be less frustrated and more successful in your weekly efforts and with any big project effort.

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