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ish:

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

 

 

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    Entries in project (15)

    Friday
    Jul052019

    Not a perfectionist?

    Not a perfectionist, just going for high standards. High standards are important. Need to keep working on this thing, tweaking it, making it 'better'.

    This article in Yahoo Finance identifies four signs of perfectionism:

    1. ‘Not good enough, yet’

    2. There’s no end in sight to a project or task

    3. Keep tweaking and tinkering

    4. Working late or long hours Is this you or someone you know?

    Read more via the article...

    Friday
    Jul052019

    The road to nowhere

    There you are about to start a new project or task. You're ready to go. You're ready to start ... but do you know when or where you will stop? Might you end up working on this task, idea or project and it has no known end?

    How do you know where the end is?

    I've learned much working with software developers these past 10 years; they work out the 'definition of done' before they even get started. How smart is that! To know when you'll be 'done' before you even get going!

    The alternative is that crazy space where you start but you don't know what the finish looks like. Well you do, but it's a conjuring, your imagination at work, creating an image in your mind.

    We're clever humans but bringing a mental image into reality is a tricky thing to do. This is why the pursuit of perfect is such a waste. The image keeps changing and we don't know when to stop.

    Before you get started, work out where you will stop. Marathon runners do it; airlines, pilots and planes do it; taxis, trains and Ubers do it; chefs with recipes do it. What are you or the team working on right now that has no defined stop point? You're on a road to nowhere.

    Pause, define the stop point and then re-start.

    Monday
    Dec032018

    Bad systems beat good people

     

    'A bad system will beat a good person every time' - so said W. Edwards Deming. 

    You've got some great people in your team, on your project, in that meeting, attending the workshop. You really have. Great people.  

    The thing is... the system - whatever system is at play in the project, meeting, workshop -often isn't working to support those great people. It may well be stifling them, stopping them, slowing them down or just slowly breaking their spirit, enthusiasm and sense that they can achieve something. 

    Let those great people give the great ideas, suggestions, hunches, hopes and insights they have. Create a system that leverages the people and doesn't limit them. 

    When you plan your next meeting, workshop, session, project, what systems will support the people to bring their greatness? That's the stuff to fix. Don't blame the people. Remedy the system or structure that's inhibiting them, hindering them or keeping them from doing their best. 

    Thursday
    May042017

    Where's your project on the path of change

    Many change and transformation projects are spoken about as a 'path', 'journey', 'ladder' or 'roadmap'.

    In short, we're here and we want to get to .... there.

    Sometimes change and transformation can feel alot less safe than a simple path or road. It feels more like a gigantic cliff! And Jack Canfield's quote about 'making your parachute on the way down' or the entrepreneurial advice to 'grow wings as you're plummeting towards earth' (aka 'grow a pair!) ... who even wants to jump into a change when you're not sure how safe the whole path will be, let alone the landing!

    Whether it's a structural change, a process or system change or a shift in culture towards new ways of working, it's in that metaphorical language we speak (paths, journeys, ladders and roadmaps) that we hear the cues and clues about where we are and where we want to get to.

    We also hear about some of the roadblocks, barriers and obstacles (hey, more metaphors*) that are both hindering and helping progress through a transformation.

    *Hint: Listen out for these metaphors; you can build lovely rapport and help people shift when you hear these metaphorical barriers and then talk about them, rather than telling people to 'move on'.

    Change and transformation doesn't just involve the stuff or things that are changing; it involves the people, the humans doing the changing.

     

    How about a ladder?

    A path, journey or roadmap up say, a ladder of change can be tricky, treacherous... and for some impatient leaders, suitably time wasting. Knowing where you're at can help with leading that change.

     

    At the bottom of the ladder are organizations and teams in chaos; they’re losing ground and on the decline. They are resistant to change, fearful and frightened of change and don’t know where to begin. They’re moving in reverse. They think they're standing still but it's worse than that. These are the businesses that go ‘belly up’, that become insolvent and are wound up. Too soon and they’re gone.

    There are plenty of businesses close to chaos but they’re attempting change and transformation. They’re a little stuck. When teams and organizations resist change – which often happens in the early stages of a change or transformation - there is a sense of being in neutral; poor levels of productivity and a feeling of not getting anywhere. Going in circles, simple changes aren't being adopted and it’s all too easy to continue the old ways of working. Why change?

    Progressing up the ladder (or along a path of change) are organizations and teams that are intent on change and transformation but they’re… distracted. They’re too busy looking at competitors and not responding, or they’re focused on internal changes that deliver little impact (or are unnecessary in the first place), or their attention is taken off the positive process of change by other significant troubles. This includes industrial, legal, financial or media crisis stuff. They're in the media everyday. They’re busy all right, but productivity and transformation suffers because they’re focusing on distracting stuff.

    If you think of an organization as aiming to make forward progress through change and transformation, each of these stages of the change path or ladder see the business slipping, with wheels spinning, engine revving loudly, just not getting anywhere!

    As a remote Australian outback fan, I'm often w-a-y out there, holidaying in our 4WD, taking paths less travelled, seeing the ochre-red sands of central Australia or the remote bush tracks where few tourists go. Spinning wheels? Not good. Get traction and get outta there!

    And in change, that's where we get to a tipping point…get outta there.

    Up over this point in change and transformation is where productivity changes, focus is shifted and positive friction is achieved, traction is gained.

    At the shift stage, organizations and teams are making changes and transformation. The decision is made, they're onto it. They’re bringing new processes and ways of working to the business … but it’s still a hard slog. Change is not the norm; the dynamic of progressive change isn’t leveraged and change takes significant effort to get traction and to stick.

    Once the team gets to perform, productivity goes up, change initiatives begin to ‘stick’ in a positive way and the path to being transforming culture is smoother. Positive change initiatives build on previous changes made and the culture is a higher performing one. There is acceptance of change as the norm; ‘This is what we do. We change. We keep changing because that’s how we do things around here.’

    Ultimately, organizations and teams that reach transform, do so because they are agile and adaptive; they make change stick, and then reinvent, experiment and review to make change an ongoing part of how they work. 

    From some of my blog posts, enews and social media shares, I often hear back from people in industries and sectors that say they are too low down on this path towards change. That they want to get moving; they want to change quicker; they need to or they'll be disrupted, replaced and decimated as a business... and possibly an industry.

     

    Everything about your organisation speaks

    In an earlier career in communications, I remember learning (and then lecturing) that 'everything about an organisation speaks'. It speaks to you about the culture; everything from how you're greeted, to what you see, to how people are sitting in pods and rows, to how a meeting room is 'all table' and no space.

    How your organisation responds to change says so much about its culture. And if you want to change culture, you need to change how you see, lead and communicate about change.

    The way you lead change says everything about your culture. Change brings renewal; if you want to change culture, change how you lead change.

    This is why I think the reference to change as a death, a dying or a grief process is done. References to endings and beginnings are done. Change is ongoing. It needs to be part of "how we do things around here."

    Rather than allowing change to be a burden, a challenge or a drudge, change can be the catalyst to shifting culture. The move is on from spinning wheels and being stuck in old ways, to a shift, up up up to higher levels of traction and performance.

    To change culture, change how you lead - see and speak - of change.

    Sunday
    Feb092014

    Some sooner is better than all later

     

     

     

     

     

     As a child I remember when my mother Shirley (who just turned 80 last week!) would whip up a tasty cake on a Saturday afternoon.

    The ingredients would come out and then one by one they'd go into the mixing bowl. After the 'mix' and the 'pour' into the cake tin, the bowl and the beaters were mine… all mine! <evil laugh>

    Tasty cake mixture that hadn't seen the oven yet! Some cakes mixture leftovers were tastier than others but it was a hint of the saying 'some sooner is better than all later.' Sure, I would have a little of the cake once it was cooked, but there was always that test or taste of what was to come, with some baking time.  

    It's the same with projects, ideas you're working on and pieces of work on your 'to do' list. 

    Get it out there so people can have a taste of some of it sooner, rather than waiting and giving them the whole finished thing later ... which they may not like the taste of. Gone! All that time working on something that wasn't to their taste. 

    Software developers and other types of technology workers use this approach often. They deliver smaller working pieces of their projects quickly so that people can test them out and give feedback. Changes are made and the next working version or piece is tested and delivered.

    The Lean Startup movement sees it as a 'minimum viable product'. 

    Quality gets built in. Overall delivery to market will be quicker and you'll stay more competitive. And there is the 'buzz' of getting something shipped that helps motivate and inspire us to action… and then more action.

    Ok … so what have you got sitting there on your list or the 'not quite done' project file that could be put out there now? Today. As it is.

    Give people a taste of it now. Ask and listen to feedback. Make improvements. And then keep that conversation going about what they want and how they'd like it. Mmmm tasty. Yum!  

     

    PS. That visual up there of my mum's cake, that's your free hand drawn icon this issue. I'll quickly sketch an image of a cake to represent key concepts like: celebration, anniversary, birthday (of course), reward, end of project, years or duration (number of candles). An oval shape for the top, lines down the side, through the middle for the layers, and some thicker lines for candles with little lines for candle flames.