ADAM’S BLOG

All posts from July 2018

232: A day in the life ​

What’s your day look like?

  • Quiet? It’s probably not a result of today, but of many days that led to this.
  • Crazy? Your company has bigger problems than today for it to be so.
  • Great? You’re doing something right beyond just today alone.

Our teams are only as great as a day in the life would reveal it to be. Change the day to change the company.​

231: Break your own industry ​

Most of us can think of something that could totally change an industry, breaking the way things are done today, for the better. Like self-driving cars for taxi companies. Many fear it:

  • “It’ll never actually happen.” Not a good strategy. Hoping it’s impossible limits you and underserves those who trust you with their care.
  • “Hopefully nobody’ll do that.” Not a good strategy. Someone probably will, eventually. What happens then?
  • “What if we did it?” Good question. It would be hard, sacrificial work, and it could transform the amount of value you provide those you serve.

If you’re already eager to do hard, sacrificial work, and you want to offer the greatest value to those you serve anyway, then why not break your own industry?

230: You were probably right all along ​

Someone doesn’t Iike your work.

They have an opinion about the way you do things, or your communication style, or your priorities. Let them:

    • It comes from another world. It’s based on something they’ve done before that worked for them. That doesn’t mean its the best way, or the only way. Is being from another world OK with you?
    • It’s from what they’re used to. Something different is something different. Different doesn’t mean better or worse. Is ‘different’ OK with you?
    • Familiarity hurts our heads less. So unfamiliarity creates push-back within most people. People need bringing around to new ideas. Is leading that change OK with you?

Too many differing opinions usually results in watered down work. If you answered “Yes” to the above questions, then you were probably right all along.

229: If it’s not one thing ​

It need not be another.

Although the alternative is rare:

  • “If it’s not one thing, it’s another”: Another fire to put out? Moving from fire to fire feels like progress, but it leaves us battered and burned.
  • “If it’s not one thing, it’s no thing”: A better alternative is to make that ‘one thing’ fireproof in future so that it can’t be a ‘thing’ again in future.

I’d like to think “If it’s not one thing, it’s no thing” could be a phrase that replaces the popular alternative. Perhaps then we’d all fix the problems in our work for good, rather than merely chasing symptoms around.

228: Maps, muscles, and motor racing ​

What do these three things have in common?

Progress requires slowing down:

  • Slow down to absorb the map, otherwise who knows where you’ll end up. Ten paces in the right direction are faster than twenty going the wrong way.
  • Give your guns a break, since growth comes from healing, not tearing. Strong muscles come from training our bodies, not damaging them.
  • Don’t overcook the corners, as knowing when to brake is as important to speed as knowing when to accelerate. Good lap times require both pedals.

It’s the smart work, not the hard work, that makes our work thrive.

227: The parts of our brains we can’t describe ​

…are all the parts that really matter.

For teams doing meaningful work, it’s worth keeping that in mind.

  • The more we feel, the less we know: We feel stressed when we’re in the dentist’s fluorescent lobby. We feel relaxed in the restaurant’s mood-lit lobby. A mood-lit dentist would jam our senses.
  • “I don’t know what it is about that person…” but we trust that feeling at the moment when it comes. We process words differently when we “feel like” you’re stressed (is she lying?) vs confident (he must know).

There are reminders and patterns all around us, thanks to our brains that work tirelessly to keep us safe from danger.

The way we present our work matters more than we can describe. Literally.