February 24, 2015

Stones in the road


It’s easy to sink into ways of doing things that aren’t so bad but don’t exactly work. Not falling on our faces, but stumbling. Getting by, but tripping on the same thing every time.

People, places and things

The tripping stones I’m talking about are people, places and things:

  • People who are late for every meeting, who roll their eyes and trash every initiative but never suggest an idea of their own.
  • Places like the supplier who’s never hit a shipment date and can’t tell you when they will.
  • Things like the system that takes fifteen clicks to bring up a schedule, a report generator that needs a programmer to add a new field, or a pricing mechanism only one person understands.

There’s a thousand little pebbles on every path but the tripping stones steal time, attention, momentum and enjoyment. With our eyes on the mountains ahead, we trip, catch ourselves, and forget about it until the next time.

Deal with it every day until you deal with it properly

Every time we trip or take avoidance measures, we’re dealing with the problem, but we doing it badly. Every time we let it slide, sidestep, make allowances; we’re only negotiating around the problem. It adds up, and it keeps adding up until we deal with it properly by digging it up and casting if off the path.

Some of these stones are bigger than others, prioritise anything that affects other people or that’s on the critical path – like the eye-roller and the pricing mechanism – but anything that trips you again and again is ripe for a one-time fix.

Skippy Strategy: That thing that consistently wastes time, attention and  progress. That person whose work you spend too much time talking about, that system that’s more trouble than it’s worth, that supplier who treats you like an inconvenience. Deal with it.