May 5, 2015

Slack in the system


Every jam on the motorway proves the problem of running at capacity. Add new stresses to the system … and everything suffers.

It’s tempting to think that filling every day with meetings, client work, proposals and busyness is efficient and effective: the more I do, the better it is. In a steady state world – where everything’s running smoothly and you don’t need to keep an eye out for opportunities and obstacles – maybe.

The rest of us need slack in the system.

Time to think, to chew things over, to swing a chair around and dig in. Enough holes in our diary to fit things in without running late and leaving early. To actually do something with the notes we take in all those meetings.

Just like the motorway, space in the system makes for free flowing progress.

Skippy Strategy: Next time someone wants a meeting and your only response is, “how about in four weeks?” realise that momentum suffers and the project’s moving at walking pace. Where can you find slack? Not to squeeze things in, but so you don’t have to.