Self-Realisation, Uncategorized

Make believe problems

We focus on them and elevate them on our priority list.

Sometimes, we invent a fake problem and give it great import and urgency as a way to take our focus and fear away from the thing that’s actually a threat. These fake problems have no apparent solution, but at least they give us something to fret over, a way to distract ourselves and the people around us.

And sometimes, we pick a fake problem that has a convenient and easy fake solution. Because, the thinking goes, we’re taking action, so things must be getting better.

Short order cooks rarely make change happen. And denying reality doesn’t make it go away.

Reblogged from: here

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Self-Realisation, Uncategorized

The problem with coming attractions

“Knock, knock…”

That’s not a coming attraction. It’s an invitation. An opening. A bit of tension in terms of closure.

A coming attraction, on the other hand, gives it all away. It says, “here’s a bit of what we’ve got, and the rest of it is just like this, but almost as loud and almost as shiny.”

In the short run, coming attractions work faster. They get you a certain kind of audience and they lead to less disappointment.

But the alternative, the hard work of creating tension and then delivering on it–that’s where our best path lies. It requires trust, not proof, and the patience to find an audience that cares enough to work with you to get to where they’d like to go.

If someone insists on experiencing your experience before you give them the experience, it’s really unlikely you’re going to be able to delight them.

Reblogged from: here

Self-Realisation

Throwing money at it

There are three kinds of problems:

The first can be fixed with money. There’s a defect in the plumbing and you can’t get a permit to open until you fix it. The design team needs to hire a UI expert to improve the widget before it ships. The family can’t get a good night’s sleep with three little kids sleeping in one room…

The second can’t be fixed with money. These are issues of trust or judgment. Horrific injuries or crimes against nature. An old growth forest doesn’t grow back merely because you pay the trees more.

The third, of course, are problems that appear that they can be solved with money, but can’t. They range from the mythical man-month to the relationship that uses resources as a false proxy for other things yet to be discussed. Culture, process and expectations are tempting targets, but the resources spent often make the problem worse in the long run.

If a problem can be fixed with money or other resources, and you can afford it, you should do so, quickly, efficiently and without breaking a sweat. For the other kind of problems, resist that shortcut and get to the heart of the matter instead.

Reblogged from: here

Self-Realisation

The other kind of harm

Pop culture is enamored with the Bond villian, the psycho, the truly evil character intent on destruction.

It lets us off the hook, because it makes it easy to see that bad guys are other people.

But most of the stuff that goes wrong, much of the organizational breakdown, the unfixed problems and the help not given, ends up happening because the system lets it happen. It happens because a boss isn’t focusing, or priorities are confused, or people in a meeting somewhere couldn’t find the guts to challenge the status quo.

What we choose not to do matters.

Reblogged from: here

Self-Realisation

Problems

Avoiding a problem with foresight and good design is a cheap, highly leveraged way to do your work.

Extinguishing a problem before it gets expensive and difficult is almost as good, and far better than paying a premium when there’s an emergency.

Fretting about an impending problem, worrying about it, imagining the implications of it… all of this is worthless.

The magic of slack (a little extra time in the chain, a few extra dollars in the bank) is that it gives you the resources to stop and avoid a problem or fix it when it’s small. The over-optimized organization misunderstands the value of slack, so it always waits until something is a screaming emergency, because it doesn’t think it has a moment to spare. Expensive.

Action is almost always cheaper now than it is later.

Reblogged from: here

Self-Realisation, Uncategorized

It’s not a problem if you prepare for it

Buffalo famously gets a lot of snow. Growing up there, though, no one really freaked out about it, because we had machines to get rid of it and the attitude that it was hardly a problem worth hyperventilating over.

Most problems are like that. When we prepare for them and get used to them, they’re not problems anymore. They’re merely the way it is.

Reblogged from: here

Self-Realisation

Living in a high-stakes universe

One path to self-motivation is to catastrophize.

After all, if this is the big moment, if everything depends on what’s going to happen next, of course you’ll need to gear up, focus and drop everything. The stakes are so high…

This is ultimately corrosive. You’re crying wolf with yourself.

Over time, the only way to keep up this motivation is to demonize the other, to treat the outside world as an enemy, lying in wait, eager for you to fail.

And that makes it harder for you to enlist colleagues, because, of course, they can’t possibly see the same drama you’re seeing, because you’re inventing it.

The drama stops helping and starts to undermine your best work.

They call it the emergency room for a reason. The rest of us work in the regular room, where emergencies are rare, not the norm, where goodwill is the default, where few things are actually a matter of life or death.

We’re capable of doing great work without the drama. In fact, over time, the lack of drama can enable us to do great work.

Reblogged from: here