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    Entries in planning (6)

    Wednesday
    Feb082017

    Planning is a waste. Spur of the moment is often good enough. 

    ‘The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.’ - Walt Disney

    There’s a message here from the Director of Your Life; don’t wait for the script to arrive. Get on with it.

    Everyday life is the biggest improvisation of all. No script. No rehearsal. Get straight out onto the stage of life and start performing! 

    Ray Bradbury, the science fiction, horror and fantasy writer, said, ‘First you jump off the cliff and you build your wings on the way down’. And although some believe the quote attributable to Kurt Vonnegut, another equally interesting and creative author, the message is the same: leap and the net will appear, you will adapt, you’ll work it out and you’ll be moving!

    Spur of the moment is often good enough 

    For many planners, strategists and forward thinking folks, planning is a part of their everyday life. They plan their morning; they plan their lunch; they plan their afternoon; and they plan family holidays, expeditions and adventures. But to deal with the volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous life which is how the world is now operating, to plan can sometimes be too slow.

    Start before you're ready

    How about the idea of starting before you're ready and making things up as we go along?

    I joke with friends and family that there are some cities and towns in the world, that if I had the opportunity to visit them again, you could take me to the airport right now. With nothing more than my phone with a payment app + my passport in my back pocket, I would work it all out as I went. 

    That idea can freak some people out. But I really would be willing to do that.

    Starting before you're ready is a response based on a theory around improvisation. Step into a community or public theatre in almost any city around the world and you will be able to discover the talents and prowess of improvisers. They step onto stages, performing for paying public and they are able to create and deliver an incredible performance almost every time.

    At the end of an improvised show, many theatergoers ask, ‘can we come back tomorrow night and see this performance again?’ Some audiences don’t realise that the show they just saw was fully improvised. Perhaps, a suggestion was given from someone in the audience to start a scene for the performance. Perhaps, one of the performers has added their own ideas. In fact, this is what improvisation is. It’s cutting loose your censor and setting free the inhibitions in your mind to deliver creativity.

    When I first learned the skills of improvisation with Impro Melbourne and was encouraged to step onto the stage as a performer, I always felt that I needed to rehearse a bit more or prepare in my mind what I was going to do or take some notes. Just as improvisers step onto a stage without a script -- so must we in workplaces today. 

    The idea that we can start before we are ready, gives us permission to just have a go, to not have a plan, to not have a script, to not have a structure and to not have any clue where this might go!

    What?! This can be terrifying for those who like to plan, for those who like certainty, for those who like unambiguous situations and for those who like to keep it all under control, known, certain and sorted. Trying to keep it all steady and calm. This is a little different to the volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity that are now in full swing in most industries across the globe.

    If you are 80% ready to go, then go.

    Start before you're ready says don't worry about planning... well, not fully anyway. Not down to the final point.

    If you are 80% ready to go, then go.

    If you are 40% ready to go, then go with something.

    If you are 20% ready to go, then go with that.

    If you continue to plan out every single step of your idea, of your business opportunity, of your entrepreneurial thoughts or of your team's actions, your capacity to respond to that uncertainty and those changes are minimized. By the time you've finished planning, the landscape has changed! To be able to start at anytime - particularly before you're ready - gives you the opportunity to respond, to adapt, to be agile and to be flexible.

    Over the longer term starting before you're ready helps reduce your inhibitions, your structures, your limitations and your beliefs about what can be possible, what you can create and what you can do.

    Get momentum and get something 'out there'

     

    And for the procrastinators among us (yes, me too), starting before you're ready is a very cool way to get some momentum, to get something 'out there' and get over your need for it to be finished, perfect or better before you put it out there.

    Have a crack. Try it out. Start before you're ready and then document what happens. You could be on to something truly life changing for you and those you impact with your thinking, creativity and work.

    Improvisation maestro and master, guru and god, Keith Johnstone suggests that spur of the moment thoughts and actions are as good -- or better -- than the ones we try too hard at.

    Stop trying so hard. 

    Monday
    Oct192015

    Will we, won't we, maybe... umm: the killer of business momentum

    Indecision is such a business and momentum killer

    Think of a meeting or conversation; there are ideas, possibilities, but then it all screeches to a halt because there isn’t a decision. Or wait, here’s the decision: lets set another meeting date and talk about it all again next time. Urgh! 
    I think we are losing the drive to decide. 

    Yet decisions are such a vital component of leadership. They help you choose a course of action. They set a direction. They help express your leadership. They give people some certainty in this crazy uncertain world. 

    How about this: earlier this week I heard of more than 30 team members being on the receiving end and consequences of the indecision of a senior manager in a large organisation …  the leader couldn’t decide what to do with the most important part of their strategy day, which is just a few days away. 

    What? It’s a big and important strategy day. And it’s that big and important and you can’t decide!?  

    You still have no certainty on what you want to achieve, how you will do that, and you’re still oscillating and circulating and debating and ruminating over what could possibly be done.

    And it’s a strategy day. And it’s important. And it’s involving other people. And it’s about the future of the team and what you work on. 

    Whatever the details and the whys and wherefores and ‘yeah but maybe theys’ that you may be scripting in your mind about this situation, the point here is that a decision wasn’t made. Over a period of time. No decision. 

    There’s a lack of leadership right there. That’s what it looks like.

    It's Indecision. It's Oscillation. And Hesitation. 

    Contemporary leaders must give some their teams certainty over the stuff they CAN give certainty on. And making decisions is one of them. Decisions help give people certainty. 

    Leadership is about making heaps of decisions. Every day. Deciding which things will you tell, which you’ll share, ask or do; which things will you instigate, delegate, escalate, mitigate.    Yet it’s that flipping from one view to another, unable to make a call or to put a marker in the sand… it's that 'dicking around’ I call it, the not deciding that is a momentum and engagement killer. 

    Do we fear that: 

    • it will be the wrong decision
    • it could really stuff things up
    • maybe it’s not totally right
    • is it the best we can possibly do, maybe we can do better later with a bit more time
    • stuffing this up will hurt my career
    • maybe this will cause conflict … and a bunch of other hesitation hang ups.  

    Along with authenticity, clear communication and setting visions, leaders dear leaders, you need to make a FREAKING DECISION. And make it fast. Make one now. 

    Failing Fast

    If it doesn’t work, that is also known as ‘failing fast’. And you will soon know if it’s not right. Failure and failing fast is very ‘now’; it’s contemporary, hip and the done thing in agile teams and organisations. But you’ve got to decide so you can act and then see what happens. If you don’t decide, then you’re not leading.  
    If you’re not making a decision you’re not stepping into action, you’re not running an experiment and you’re not leading. You’re lying… in waiting.

    Dangerously Safe

    It’s like you are balancing on a high wire, not moving towards the end goal and neither are you reversing or backing up to go along some other high wire. You don’t even have anything to help you balance on that wire. You’re a balance-less high wire walker. And that’s dangerous.  
    You’re putting yourself in a situation where a little gust of wind, a little rattle on the high wire is something that could topple you over. That wouldn’t be a good ending.   

    An End to Choice

    "To decide". It means to end and terminate the choices you have. It means to ‘cut off’.

    Don’t be the person or role that someone else decides to cut off because you’re not making decisions in your team or organisation. 

    Decisions are leadership.Do them. Make them. Lead. 

    Friday
    Jan022015

    A Visual Map for your 2015 Planning

    Happy new year to you for 2015!

    To help you on your way - no matter what you're doing with resolutions, resets, reviews or renews .... here's a visual map to plot out some 2015 intentions. 

    This is the visual map I use each year and this year it's a gift to ya! 

     

    It's a one-pager for a reason. It has the 'big picture' in one visual snapshot. Once I've completed it for the year, I put it up on the wall in my office or have it as the screen lock or screen saver on my devices. I want it to be there in front of me to act like a display or dashboard or map to remind me what I'm doing this year. 

    A big distractor for us achieving what we want is ... well.... distraction. Lack of focus is .... oh look, a cute dog running along the beach .... yes, that's me, I'll turn my head at the first fluffy jumping four-legged dog I see. Whatever your distraction is, let's get some focus in front of that distraction via this visual map. It's a quick and clear tool in the war against distraction. 

    Get focusing on this visual map each day, at times throughout the day, to get it embedded in your mind so that soon you'll know what it looks like without looking at it. 

    How to complete the Visual Map

    Here's how I use it - of course you can put whatever you like wherever your like - or create your own:

    1. I print it out and get myself a nice black marker; (yes for those that know me, it's probably a chisel tip marker!) ;-)
    2. Starting with the yellow circle-y - cloud shapes I write in my big 'WHYs'. Why do I do what I do? What's important to me? Is it family, health, freedom, independence, giving... think about what is important to you. These are written in first for me to look at and I know they are always part of why I do what I do. I write one in each yellow shape. You'll see the centre yellow one is bigger - that might work for you with one being above all others. So why do you do what you do? What's important to you?
    3. Below the big '2015', in the blue cloud shape I write a key word for focus. At Thought Leaders Business School, founder Matt Church suggests setting yourself a 'big word' to give you context and focus for your year ahead. Write it in there. Maybe it's about growth, productivity, clarity, love, balance, community - what's the one word that you're gonna be about this coming year?
    4. Along the road between now and the horizon, there are four grey segments. Think of these as 90 day blocks or quarters for the year. Set some goals for those 90 day blocks. What's the key word for each of those? What will each quarter be about for you? What do you want to achieve, think, feel, do, have, be? These spaces are purposely not too big - I don't want clutter and confusion there for you. There's space to write some key goals and targets and some key intentions. Sometimes, I keep it simple and then fill in more details for the latter 90 days as the year progresses.

    OK, get going on it...!

    How are you feeling about committing some of this to paper? 

    Sometimes I take the time to be quiet, listen to some music, sit at the beach or under a tree and complete this visual map as a real planning session. Other times, it's a quick and clear brain dump of what I've been working on and thinking over recent weeks. 

    Relax... it's not set in reinforced concrete - it's flexible, changeable and maleable.

    Use this as a kickstarter, a hack to get you focusing on what's important and why you do it, and breaking down the year into manageable chunks. 

    Let me know how you go... email me photos of your Visual Maps; I'd love to see them and know more about what you've got your sights set on for 2015.

    Saturday
    May312014

    Do you do the things successful people do?

    Of the many lists and hints on how to be successful, the 12 things successful people do before breakfast by Jenna Gourdreau in Entrepreneur magazine was … quite tasty!

     
    My visual this week is a pictorial reminder, based on the article (which was based on the book of similar name by Laura Vanderkam.)
     
    Here they are… 12 things to do before breakfast:



    Who could remember the written list after reading it?

    The picture I sketched and doodled helps me recall the tips with greater ease… certainly in the early hours of the morning!
     
    As always, visuals do a lot of the heavy lifting for you when there's detail or complexity at play.

    Pictures help people hear each other… when they're not listening. 

    Visuals help people digest smaller pieces of information and make for a more engaging piece of communication than a spreadsheet, data pack or dump of information.
     
    How can you help the people you're working with at the moment to digest some of your important information more easily?
     
     

    Saturday
    May312014

    Do you do the things successful people do?

    Of the many lists and hints on how to be successful, the 12 things successful people do before breakfast by Jenna Gourdreau in Entrepreneur magazine was … quite tasty!

     
    My visual this week is a pictorial reminder, based on the article (which was based on the book of similar name by Laura Vanderkam.)
     
    Here they are… 12 things to do before breakfast:



    Who could remember the written list after reading it?

    The picture I sketched and doodled helps me recall the tips with greater ease… certainly in the early hours of the morning!
     
    As always, visuals do a lot of the heavy lifting for you when there's detail or complexity at play.

    Pictures help people hear each other… when they're not listening. 

    Visuals help people digest smaller pieces of information and make for a more engaging piece of communication than a spreadsheet, data pack or dump of information.
     
    How can you help the people you're working with at the moment to digest some of your important information more easily?