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CPA Congress 2019 

 October 2019 

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OCTOBER 23

Mya Tiger in St Kilda 

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ish:

The Problem with our Pursuit for Perfection and the Life-Changing Practice of Good Enough’

 

 

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Build this powerful, influential skill to help make sense of change, communicate clearly and engage people in the most challenging situations
  

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    Entries in experiment (5)

    Thursday
    Aug222019

    The waste of misdirected effort 

    Imagine working on a task or project and later finding that much of what you’ve done isn’t needed, that you'd kept heading down a path that wasn't necessary.

    I noticed a colleague working on a project recently, spending hours and days preparing and producing some work and ... it’s not needed. It was never needed. They estimated they'd spent a week of time, at a minimum - all of it not needed.

    Time could have been better directed towards more valuable activities.

    We make many decisions every day about what we’re doing; I doubt we’re truly thinking about what’s the best use of our time. We get caught up in activities and tasks that we spend way too much time on - disproportionate to their value or their return to us or others.

    The 'sunk cost fallacy' drags us in and we don’t want to turn around and head back out because we wrongly believe we need to stay the course and keep on down this path. But we don’t have to.

    It’s never too late to call time on something that’s not right or not valuable or not worth it. No matter how far you’re along the 'wrong' path.

    Be willing to call ‘stop’ or ‘time’ or say ‘hang on a moment; can we pause here?’ and then shift to the more valuable path.

    Thursday
    Aug222019

    Determine the minimum effective dose 

    What’s the least you could do, the least that’s required?

    Some people think the world is going to ruin, that quality will drop if we don’t do our bestest of the very best of the best on every single thing we work on.

    Oh sure, high quality and attention to detail matters, but not on everything! Keep quality for the things that really matter.

    The whole minimum viable product (MVP) strategy is an example of doing just enough of the valuable stuff for a product or service to get it ready to put it out there.

    So what’s the least you need to put in? Do that and then test or validate it.

    Oh, and there’s the minimum effective dose strategy too. Medicos and pharmaceuticos know about identifying what’s the minimum amount of a drug or treatment that will ‘do the job’. (There’s the ‘do no harm’ mantra in there too.)

    Let's play the same game. Stop doing harm to your self, your mind (and others) thinking you need a maximum dose of something (or everything) ... or that more will make it better.

    Your good enough is likely good enough. Go test and validate it sooner than you think you can, to see how good enough it really is. That’s a minimum effective strategy that will bring some mega results.

    Thursday
    Aug222019

    Overcooking the work - Overworking the cook 

    It was a reality cooking show and a competitor ruined the protein for all of the meals by overcooking it. In the bin! What a waste!

    This can happen in our everyday life. When we have a task to complete we can keep cooking and cooking it, trying to make it better. Then at some point it’s overdone, overcooked. What a waste!

    It isn’t only the waste of effort; also the waste of energy, time, resources, power, space, people ...

    Even though time is our most precious resource, we often act as if we - and others - have plenty of it. We still get distracted everyday, overcooking, overthinking and overworking, getting dragged deep deep deep into the work of our ‘cook’ - whatever the 'cook' is for you.

    The kitchen's 'rare/medium/well done' scale is a useful analogy to work out how much your task needs to be cooked.

    It’s best to scope out the minimum amount of work required (so you can then test or validate) before proceeding any further. You don’t need to go for well done, initially ... ever.

    Where might you be overcooking something at the moment? Have you checked with others, validated your thinking or tested out your progress? Pause and give it a taste test.

    Friday
    Jan092015

    Be more encouraging with failure

    Hooray, I failed! Candy Crush or any other addictive game will celebrate with me about how I didn't make that level.

    It's celebrated with a big colourful banner, sound effects, cheery, joyous music, AND an exclamation point.

    "You've failed!"

    I can't wait to have another go at it to see if I can learn what I've been doing wrong and get somewhere closer to succeeding. After all, it's fun. I'm failing and I'm trying again.

    Playing a digital game we're encouraged to rejoice at our failure and enthused to try again.

    Plenty to read over recent years about failure in well authored books and leading magazines and how we need to accept it in the workplace. Ok, well and good... but I just don't think we're 'accepting' failure quite right.

    I failed at work? OK, where's the cheery music? Where's the banner and the sound effects? And where is the exclamation point !?!

    Building on the happy lessons of improvisers who say ‘yes and’ and who make their partners look good, experimenting and failing is also being willing to let go of your first idea. What else can you cook up?

    At one of the earliest improvisation workshops I went to where we were learning the tools, techniques and philosophies of improv, the phrase ‘again’ was shouted with joy when a scene was ‘stuffed up’ or failed. If the story didn't progress or a playing partner didn't pick up the line and run with it, we shouted 'go again', and we have another try and say or do something else. Anything else. Just do something!

    We simply started again and had another go at it. Hands up in the air, leaping up, shouting 'I stuffed up!' or 'Again!'

    Yes, THERE's the exclamation point! Go again!

    Be more encouraging with failure and going 'again' this year. If something doesn't work, try something else. Just go again. Because we failed! Hooray!

    Monday
    Dec302013

    "I didn't think; I experimented"

    Kick off 2014 with some experimentation. No need to overthink, ponder for too long or wonder. 

    Just start. 

    Try something out. 

    Then try something else. 

    Keep on experimenting. 

    "I didn't think; I experimented" is exactly what Wilhelm Rontgen did. 

    If you or someone in your circle or network has had an x-ray lately, you can thank Wilhelm.  It was he who discovered and detected the wavelength that we know today as x-rays, or 'Rontgen rays'.

    A Nobel Prize later and he was recognised as truly having changed the future of health care and medicine. 

    And if you're a fan of the TV show 'Big Bang Theory', you'll understand how cool it is that Wilhelm was also recognised by having one of the elements named after him. Number 111, 'Roentengium'.

    He didn't just sit, gazing out the window thinking about how x-rays might work. He got to it, experimenting, testing, trying things out. 

    Wilhelm took notes after each of his experiments and kept on testing and investigating. He was human... and he was worried that his ideas may have been seen as a bit too out there or in error. 

    But without his experiments, our health care and medical diagnoses could be so very different. Wilhelm is a brilliant inspiration and a reminder that few pieces of truly impactful work are created by just thinking. Sure, start with a thought, an idea... but then go and test it out. 

    Talk to someone about it. Get a minimum viable product up and out there to see how it might be received, how it could work, what else needs to happen.