Dealing with friction


Everywhere you look. Every place. Every relationship, every interaction or transaction between people, machines, systems, processes, organisations, governments. Everywhere, every time, there’s friction.

Without thinking about it, it seems ok, normal.

The deceit that’s hidden in business as usual is that “usual” doesn’t have to be that way.

In fact, a decent wedge of your job is about finding paths that aren’t usual. That are shorter, smarter, faster.

And that means not accepting friction.

It means finding routes that divert from what’s usual, away from how things have always been done, exploring paths that promise efficiencies and stop egos rubbing together. Finding ways to make life easier.

We spend a lot of time pouring oil on grinding cogs. The real job is tuning, re-engineering, honing, changing out worn parts, creating new components. And while you’re at it … reinventing the world.

Skippy Strategy: Deal with friction, it doesn’t have to be business as usual.

Neatly filed under Leading on November 26, 2015

It’s emotional


Dealing with conflict is a hard path.

There’s logic, and reason, and rational thinking. There’s pros and cons, and fors and againsts. There’s clear thinking and good advice.

And then there’s reality.

It’s always emotional.

The bigger the question … the more Kirk, less Spock.

And yet.

Accept emotions in the opening, deal with them (hint: let them go) in the middle, so when you get to the end game … more Spock, less Kirk.

Skippy Strategy: Deal with the emotions, decide with the facts.

Neatly filed under Managing on November 25, 2015

Match fit


Pitching to investors, you better be prepared. Know your numbers, understand the customer, nail your proposition, show the holes in your team, tick off the milestones the expose the leaps of faith.

Selling to customers, you better know their pain, what it means, the problems it causes. You better have answers that are easy to understand and solutions that are easy to buy and be ready to partner so everybody wins.

Building a team of big hitters, you better be interesting and show them a vision that’s worthy of their talent and attention. You better have ambition and drive and be ready to rumble.

Doing anything: better get match fit.

Or flabby? You could be reluctant, indecisive, lethargic, slow to respond, not push through, not finish.

Fit is better than flabby. Build strength and resilience from effort. From never settling, never taking the easy route. From working hard and always being ready to run fast and jump through rings of fire, to take decisions and face up to risk. To grit it out.

The time to get match fit? Before you need it.

Time to start?

Skippy Strategy: Look from the outside in; what’s one thing most needs a route march?

Neatly filed under Keeping Promises on November 24, 2015

Help saying, No


Sometimes it’s easy to say, No.

When it’s obviously a bad idea (Would you mind driving off this cliff?), when your team is point-focused on a definitive objective, when the curtain’s going up or the baby’s being delivered. A No is natural. Prioritisation is precious.

Most of the time though, when interesting opportunities come up, the honest answer is … probably.

You could leave port and head out for someplace new. Resources could be diverted here, the team could soft pedal there, a path could be found through the thicket. So, yeah, maybe. It’s possible.

Given that you can’t do everything … the question then is … should you?

If you have a no-strategy strategy, then why not? There’s room for everything.

For everyone else, probably not. Before saying No, bounce it off the plan. Would it take your further or faster, or distract or confuse or slow things down.

A plan helps you say, No. It’s as much about what you won’t do as what you will.

Skippy Strategy: Get a plan. Change it if you want to, but not just because you can.

Neatly filed under Managing on November 23, 2015

You did what?


In a crisis there’s not much time for anything but action.

Head down, one thing at a time, jumping the stepping stones from the middle of the river to safety on other side.

And in a crisis, there aren’t too many secrets. Everybody knows something’s going on. Not the details, but the broad sweep and rumours.

As soon as there is time, it’s time to blow away the smoke and point out the facts.

Walking into the meeting, everyone has a shopping list for what they want to know:

  • What happened?
  • How did it happen?
  • What have you done about it?
  • What it means to them?
  • What happens next?

Too much gloss or too little honesty and no one trusts you. And that’s another crisis in the making.

So … heavy on facts, forget about blame, no ranting, no finessing.

Skippy Strategy: Tell the story like you’ll tell it in five years – reflective, decisive, measured.

Neatly filed under Teams on November 22, 2015