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


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 It's not 'drawing'...



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    Entries in sensemaking (23)


    Drowning in it

    Drowning in it. Have you felt the ‘drowning in it’ feeling? It happens daily in meetings, or on Day 1 of a new job, drowning in all that information!

    The Institute for the Future named ‘Cognitive Load Coping' as something we’ll need to be good/better/best at for the 2020s. We can't wait for a magic pill - we need to do better with information, now.

    A key is understanding that cognitive overload can happen:

    ๐ŸŒ• s-l-o-w-l-y without you barely noticing it (until you're in a daze, like at a conference), or

    ๐ŸŒ• swiftly (when someone presents lots of complex info, data, results and - aaargh, we've lost the thread).

    We can build skills to manage our own cognitive load (more on that over the coming weeks). But as leaders, we must focus and ruthlessly prioritise when presenting information to others - for their load.

    TIP: Package information up in chunks that are easy for digestion. This means losing long lists of bullet points; too tough to make sense of.


    Here's my infamous slide presented at a conference on Day 1. (The Day 2 speakers stayed up late deleting all their bullet points! ๐Ÿ˜† And the presentations were better!) Ditch the list of dots, it's zzzzz. What helps your cognitive load? 


    The secret to leadership is simple

    'The secret to leadership is simple’. So said Seth Godin ... and he says many wonderfully frank, clear and compelling things.

    The concept, behavior and practice of leadership can get complicated and confusing - especially when you’re in the thick of it.

    Like when you’re dealing with the human side (which is most of the time), or handling conflict and tension or leading through a significant and unsettling time of change (which is most of the time).

    The slide deck from that leadership program or your ‘colour’ from that diagnostic tool might not help you so much when you’re waist deep in the tricky stuff.

    Seth’s quote below here has been a helpful guide to me. So much so, I “elevated” it : that is, I took the words and made an artifact, an anchor, a reminder of it, and put it in front of my face where I can see remind myself to not make leadership too complicated.

    Has leadership become too complicated? What helps you with leadership?


    'Any old map will do' 

    I wrote earlier about sensemaking and how we need it to collaborate, make decisions and make progress. How do we ‘make sense’, particularly in a group? Currently, we sit around a table, look at each other and talk at each other. It’s so verbal. Blah blah and blah, and some more blah blah. We’re trying to explain things, influence, persuade, educate, inform, involve and engage.

    All of that with words? That’s a big ask of any words coming out of our mouth to achieve.

    As if we should all be famous orators, preachers and inspirers! But some of us aren’t. And it can be unsafe in some workplaces to even open your mouth to put forward your thoughts. For making sense, you don’t need fancy drawing skills. You need a map.

    Thanks to Sensemaking guru Dr Karl Weick’s advice, ‘any old map will do.’ You see, a map provides us with a point of reference, a starting point. To start to make sense, get some of the information - words, shapes, ideas - onto something map-ish; a note pad, tablet, white board, flip chart.

    It need not be pretty. It needs only to be practical. It’s a starting point after all.


    Donโ€™t put anything on the walls.

    Thinking information on a wall is ugly or damages the decor might be good for aesthetic folks, but there’s a lot of pragmatic people who need to see things to make sense of 'em.

    Seeing helps us make sense of what’s happening, why it's happening and what's yet to happen. And it reduces uncertainty and anxiety.

    If there’s nothing visible about the work going on, then is there any work actually going on? It’s like that philosophical statement: “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” If our work is hidden in digital files, apps and emails of ‘reply all’, is progress actually happening? Too much information is hidden deep in dungeons, vaults and rabbit holes and it's too complex to work with.

    What’s happening at your workplace: Are you ‘allowed’ to put things on the wall? 


    Did you know that Sensemaking is a โ€™thingโ€™?

    You know when you’re having a meeting or a conversation and you’re listening to what people say, trying to work out what it means, what it’s about?

    That’s Sensemaking. We do it intuitively, habitually, automatically. But we might also be doing it in ways that don't get the most out of our grey matter - our brain - or the other people in the room.

    It's why we miss out on information, feel overloaded and get overwhelmed with too much information.

    It’s certainly why we get into heated debates, arguments, confusion and misunderstandings. Even though we’re trying to get on the ’same page’, we often don’t even have a page, anywhere to be seen. It’s all talk.

    We can make Sensemaking a more deliberate action in our daily work and daily lives. It’s more than taking notes, it’s more than listening.

    It’s a kind of super power or rapid path to clarity when we’re dealing with complex issues and information. Plus it’s the way to make decisions quicker and work together better.

    Sensemaking. It’s a thing and we can most defintely be more deliberate about it.