Finding joy in simplicity

There is something good in getting rid of noise and stuff. What’s clear is we have built so many meetings, processes, reviews and metrics into our organisations that we have often forgotten our why and our core values.

One of the best tactics I have found for determining what should be in a space is to remove everything and then decide what I want to put back. If you do it the other way around and try to choose what to remove bit by bit it is almost impossible.

So what if you cancelled every meeting? Every budget thrown in the bin. Every process put on hold. And you sat down and said, ok, what is the why — the problem, the vision, the mission. What’s the how — the values, the product or service, the solution. And then re-design from the ground up — in the property you use, the technology you use, the people and skills you need, who you will partner with, what finances you need, how you’ll reach and engage your mission.

Too far? Will you ever have another opportunity to reset like this? Even if you keep 98% of what you removed, at least you have elected to choose it should be there, rather than being there by default.

Making a plan in the midst of uncertainty

We’re in this strange situation where because of uncertainty, planning scenarios are gravitating to a “it will all be fine by next summer”, with very little expectation of true normality before then. But the downside if this scenario is wrong is very large indeed.

From everything I’ve heard, prepare for the “it will be normal” by next summer but have some pretty serious contingency planning in place for a downside case. Imagine a scenario where is no vaccine, there is no immunity when you’ve had it, unemployment remains at 30% of the workforce and Governments are unable to keep printing money to keep the economy afloat. What happens then?

Getting yourself unstuck

In this uncertain moment, leaders are stuck in knowing how to plan. If we don’t make a plan, the plan will be made for us and we’ll fall into being led rather than leading.

The story goes that Walt Disney had three separate rooms as part of the creative process and three very different conversations happened in each of those rooms

  • Room 1 was for brainstorming, where all ideas were ok. Get the post-its out. No stupid ideas. Everything is possible
  • Room 2 was for fleshing out the concepts into a developed plan. Get it out of your head and down on paper. Have costings, responsibilities, route to market, road maps etc.
  • Room 3 was called the Sweatbox and that’s where the plan was interrogated. What’s wrong with this? Who else has done it? How can you prove product/market fit? Who are you going to get to fund it?

We all know which rooms we’re best in and which ones we are weak in. We also all know people for each room. If you put a room one person in room 3 you get endless distractions and tangents. If you put a room 3 person in room 1 the ideas get shot down and critiqued before they are even on the post-it and the energy leaves the room rapidly.

My question to leaders now is what room do you need to be in right now and who are the people who need to be in that room with you. (And who needs to leave the room for a moment)?