Slow down

Sunbeam

If you have one day in Rome, do you rush about bagging every sight, or sit in a square and experience the pace and the heat.

Sights (and customers) were there yesterday, before you arrived, and they’ll be there tomorrow. It’s compelling to think you have to go fast, and sometimes it’s true. But not often. Most times you can wait until the sky clears and sun comes out – you’ll get a much better view.

It takes time to tell a story. Slow down, let it unfold.

Then … when you’re ready … jump.

Skippy Strategy: If you’re rushing, take a moment to work out whether it’s because you have to or choose to. If it’s choice, work out whether it’s a good one.

Neatly filed under Leading on March 27, 2015

When you’re wronged

Camel

Everyone makes mistakes.

When it’s you, there’s a choice: fess up, put it right and move on, or; cover up, bite it back and move grudgingly.

When it’s someone else, what then?

If they act with a grudge – it makes things worse. If they’re genuine … ok, let’s see how we can work things out.

When someone comes to you to put things right, give them the benefit of the doubt. Assume the mistake was honest and the apology heart felt.

It’s ok to be angry and annoyed, but a pound of flesh? It’s too much. It may be hard, but try to give them an easy path to making things right. Don’t become the grudger – it always, always makes things worse.

Skippy strategy: Next time someone comes to you to straighten things out. Let them know how you feel, then turn the conversation to how to make things right – on every level.

Neatly filed under Leading on March 26, 2015

Space for a creative engine

Engine

Fire fighters don’t build things, they save things. They deal with a specific problem and do their best to leave things as close to OK as they can. It’s not a creative process. No one expects them to put down the hose pipe and pick up a paint brush.

Teams that spend most of their time fire fighting don’t push things forward, don’t invent new products or win clients or change the world. They strive for a nil sum – on a good day, just getting back to where they started.

If fire fighting becomes standard operating procedure, there’s no room for the creative engine and the next breakthrough. It gets drowned in cold water.

You have to fight the fires, but do it properly. Starve them of oxygen. Use whatever energy you have left to engineer them out of the system so they can’t spark back to life. Make them the exception not the rule.

Wheel the creativity engine back in the building. Make it purr.

Skippy Strategy: Next time you get that “not again” feeling, put out the fire AND deal with the source. Build a sand-box if you have to, but make sure creativity has space and support.

Neatly filed under Managing on March 25, 2015

It’s right there!

Whale

It’s right there. In front of you. That thing you’re trying to avoid. Right there.

Every day you skirt around, every time you don’t deal with it properly, you deal with it anyway. It causes problems and work-arounds and conversations and difficulties.

When you face up to the issues and actually deal with it properly: no more skirting around the edges, no more avoiding eye contact with that elephant sitting in the corner. It’s done.

A rule of thumb: when your team spends more time talking about (or avoiding talking about) one issue more than anything else, it’s time to stop.

Put it in the middle of the picture and work out what to do about it.

Skippy Strategy: Is there some thing or some body that’s sucking energy from forward motion? How can you take it out of the equation? Walk the walk.

Neatly filed under Managing on March 24, 2015

How do I get the value?

Extract

I don’t care about ease-of-use unless I first understand the value-of-use.

You need both. Developers should do everything in their power to make the product simple to use and marketers should hone the message so customers easily understand the value of the product.

That’s great but not enough.

Even when I understand and want the value that the product offers and believe it’s easy to use, there’s one more step in the dance. Extracting the value.

It’s no good chucking your product, powerful marvel that it is, over the wall and assuming customers will know what to do with it when it lands. How will they get the value?

You have to mediate. You have to build a bridge.

What you offer is rarely the whole solution. Help your customer get where they really want to to.

Skippy Strategy: Your product or service: How can you make it easier to extract the value? What else should be in the box, package, solution? Who needs training, who can give it? What other products or services have to be involved before all that power comes easily to hand – how can you partner to provide everything as a seamless package?

Neatly filed under Keeping Promises on March 23, 2015