What you can’t do

Fear

There’s plenty of reasons not to do something.

Wrapped in all kinds of (let’s hope) good-intentioned but nay-saying reasoning, blowing away the smoke, they’re saying it’s risky, stupid, difficult, expensive, impossible, or just plain howl at the moon crazy.

Every new product, project, business, organisation and idea that ever changed the world (even a little bit) had to look the scare-mongers between the eyes … and take the first step all the same.

Doing new things is about managing the issues, not avoiding them.

Skippy Strategy: Don’t let them tell you what you can’t do. Work out how you can.

Neatly filed under Foundations on July 31, 2015

The thing about maps

Where?

With no destination in mind, who needs a map? Or a plan?

Going somewhere new, they help. A lot.

How far from here to there? How much time? What’s the route? Interesting things along the way? Where to stop for lunch?

Maps do a pretty good job: we see the way, we show the team, we plan what to do, we pack for the journey. Next step, get out the door and look for signposts.

Then there’s reality. Bigger hills, unspotted rivers, unfindable waypoints, overgrown paths, lost then … here we are … found. When you’re in the woods, the plan helps you realise. When you’re on track, the plan says how far.

The thing about maps? They only resemble reality – you still have to think, you still have to work – but on the path less travelled, they give us confidence to go a long, long way.

Skippy Strategy: If you don’t have a destination, choose one. If you don’t have a map, get one.

Neatly filed under Leading on July 30, 2015

Things will grow

Grow

If you’re smart and lucky and have a following wind, things will grow. Beyond the point where you or your team can do everything. Beyond what you can control or even know about.

You can hang on, keep playing catch-up, tie things down and hold things back. They’ll reach a limit of what’s possible without your say-so. You’ll be the bottleneck.

Or not.

You can be the one who sets the limit, or the one who let’s them grow.

By letting go.

Not completely.

Enough to let all those stars on payroll do the job they were hired to do.

And if you’re smart and lucky and the wind holds, things will grow some more.

Skippy Strategy: Don’t hold too tight. Find good people, let them do their job.

Neatly filed under Foundations on July 29, 2015

Choosing complexity

Choices

Complexity creeps up on you.

Without looking – three pads on the go, different sandwich suppliers for different kinds of meetings, five independent systems running specific parts of the business, and (how did that happen?) twelve brooms and twenty-eight different kinds of traffic bollard sitting in inventory.

Which one to use, is this a special case, should I get something new or upgrade that one, where is it, who knows how to use it, which, where, how?

No wonder everything takes so long.

Complexity is insidious. It happens because you let it. Expedient, quick, bolt-on choices – made in silos – drip to a vat of treacle.

Skippy Strategy: When you bring in new people and systems, make sure they connect where they should and overlap is minimal.

Neatly filed under Managing on July 28, 2015

Seriously?

Camouflage

Little jokes. Small and joyful.

Like the logo written in ascii in a web page source.

Like the playful health warning on a technical spec.

Like the small print in an email footer that’s just between you and me, just in case you read it.

Like the scissor cuts on Kickstarter.

Code for serious people not taking themselves too seriously.

Skippy Strategy: Come out from behind the camouflage, take a little time to show a little joy.

Neatly filed under Skippiness on July 27, 2015