Every entry filed under "Innovating"

Pushing the flywheel

Flywheel

Getting things started is hard work. Often times, you’re not even sure which way is up. There’s a lot of work to do and no progress to talk about. So many meetings, and crossed threads, and nil-sum assumptions, and politicking, and “we already tried that”s and “you can’t paint it blue”s.

Ever so slowly. Things … start … moving. Soul destroying effort, sole wearing foot-work. Any loss of momentum, everything sloooows.

Eventually. You can paint it blue, trying it THIS way DOES work. You work out win-wins that break down barriers, cross chasms and open doors.

In the end, a finish line.

It takes a lot of effort to get started. But if the cause is worth it, so is the effort. The trick then is to pick projects with causes. If you haven’t got one, find one. Give people a reason to sign up, to put their power to the flywheel, to keep pushing.

Fame and glory might do it. Meaningful work always does.

Skippy Strategy: Next time getting started is feeling like too much effort. Remember that even though it sucks, it’s normal. Find the meaning and dig in.

Neatly filed under Innovating on May 22, 2015

So many things to do

Confuse

Let’s not confuse projects with priorities.

Projects are packages of work undertaken to achieve stated goals. Priorities are things ranked more important than others.

The confusion comes when all projects are priorities.

What does it feel like? Never finishing … anything. He-who-shouts-loudest syndrome. Un-progress meetings.

The cause: too many projects, too little prioritisation.

When every project is AAA rated, the only things that happen fast are confusion and fatigue. Each deliverable crawls forward like jammed traffic on a roundabout.

The answer is to prioritise the important stuff and move everything else to a “Not a Priority” list. Keep it in sight, but focus attention on the priorities.

Projects need to be prioritised, every project isn’t a priority.

Skippy Strategy: Rank your project list from most important to least. Draw a line beneath the last project you can fully resource. Accelerate projects above the line, cancel those below.

 

Neatly filed under Innovating on May 11, 2015

An instinct for security

Security

Francis Ford Coppola is most famous as a film director, producer, scriptwriter with Academy Awards and Palme d’Or in his collection.

Outside the movies, he’s built a commercial empire with heavy interests in food and wine, theatre, writing and resort hotels.

In a 1998 interview with Fast Company magazine he said,

“Being spartan not only greatly reduces overhead but also destroys the hierarchy that affects a company when its people care only about their bonuses. In that kind of company, people start to play the game safe: “Let’s make another Mission: Impossible.” I don’t hire people who play it safe, and I destroy systems that encourage an instinct for security.”

Anything that encourages risk aversion is a fast route to the middle of the road where mediocre output is almost inevitable. Creative answers are at the edge, in any industry.

Skippy Strategy: Next time you say, “Oh no, we could never do that.” work with your team to explore the edge, try to prove yourself wrong.

Neatly filed under Innovating on May 10, 2015

Put ideas in the pipeline

Pipeline

There’s a pipeline of opportunities you’re working on. Potential sales and prospects sitting at anything from 10-90% possibility. Your cash-flow and operating models are based on it. You manage against it, report on it, scale up for it, live with it.

It’s the clearest statement of immediate effort.

Less clear … the pipeline of ideas.

A best guess on how or where the market is moving, what customers will want next year, what you’ll offer and how your business will evolve to get ahead of the game. Proactive thinking. Everything between idle thoughts and active effort.

Manage it, talk about it, report on it. What does it mean? Do you want it? What has to happen to take it from idea, to maybe, to do-able, to done.

Skippy Strategy: What’s in your pipeline of ideas? What can stay on the back burner and what needs closer attention? How will you manage the change?

Neatly filed under Innovating on April 1, 2015

What’s the game changer?

Merlin

Change is coming. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon. A shift in technology, a new bidder, competitor manoeuvres, a change in regulation. I don’t know what it is but I can feel it, taste it. It’s on the wind.

Will we see it in time? Will we know what to do about it, with it? What else will it change? Is it an opportunity or a threat? Always an opportunity – if we’re on it. What is it?

Skippy Strategy: What part of your market has been the same for a generation? Left behind by digital or social or with same faces running the same initiatives? Where has an incumbent become entrenched but lazy? What would happen if … ?

P.S. The picture? A Rolls Royce Merlin 61, Spitfire engine. State of the art, with two stage supercharger, in 1942. Merlin, Spitfire, Supercharger – they knew how to name things back then.

Neatly filed under Innovating on March 12, 2015