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At the end of this post is a great video of Evan Williams, CEO of Twitter, talking about how it all started out as a hunch. I’ll bet you’re working on something right now that might have a breakthrough if you tried out one of your hunches. Here’s my hunch story and then the video of @ev.
In 2004 I had to get eight thousand overworked middle managers to schedule a training day they hadn’t asked for, show up for that training 2-3 months later, and not cancel, reschedule, or mysteriously “get the flu” when the day arrived. If even a small percentage of them no-showed or rescheduled, it would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Either my company would wind up running make-up sessions for free to fulfill our contract, or the client would have to pay extra because the original sessions hadn’t covered everybody. Continue reading
I like the tweets from @RedStarVIP on Twitter. This morning I saw one that said “The Art of Execution” followed by a link. That topic teaser sounded generic to me, but because it was from redstarvip I clicked.
Guy Kawasaki offers some great advice in this piece. But he also perpetuates an old and destructive false dichotomy: that we can either have results (execution) or “a great work environment.”
Many of us have been schooled to “stay positive!” Ultimately I think there is a grain of wisdom in this, but it can also blind us. Sometimes we need to address important risks or vulnerabilities. In a group setting, if you insist on only focusing on the positive, you can also lose credibility with people who consider themselves realists.
On the other hand, some of us are by training and inclination problem-spotters. We believe that if we can find and fix what’s wrong, everything will be fine. As with the positive thinkers, this of course is useful to an extent. The problem comes when we find ourselves continually worrying or complaining no matter how well things are going. And again, in a group setting you might find that your legitimate concerns are easily dismissed if you have a reputation for being too pessimistic. Continue reading
Happily my client had done a good job getting his internal stakeholders focused more on business outcomes and less on a certain kind of event as “the answer.”
As the project progresses I won’t be chronicling it blow-by-blow out of respect for client confidentiality. But I will continue to post lessons gleaned from past projects or tips on how to get the most out of your team or your external consultants.