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47: Doing so much

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“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller

This quote gets misinterpreted a lot.

And passionate, talented teams are a big offender.

There’s a temptation to interpret “we can do so much” as “let’s try to do everything at once.” Trading the chisel for another hammer dilutes the precision and commitment to good work.

  • Say ‘yes’ to the work. This also means saying ‘no’ to alternatives.
  • Own the work. One person responsible for each work on the team.
  • Refine or redefine. If it’s working, refine it. If it’s not, redefine it. This avoids the trap of “but we’ve tried everything.”

Let’s use Helen’s quote as a call to the clinical, radical focusing of meaningful team work.

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