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Bringing the Best Out of Best Practices

Apple does it this way. Google does it that way. Microsoft would never do this . A few ultra-successful companies serves as a model for every company. To dominate our arena is something we all strive for. It's natural to copy the best in an attempt to be the best.  Every company is unique. Different cultures, products, goals. There's no one-size-fits-all way of doing things. Thinking so only creates a false sense of structure and certainty.  If we do X, we'll achieve Y. Oversimplification causes oversight. No prescription works for every patient. No playbook works for every team. Best practices are sharpened through individual trial and error. Copying another's ignores our unique goals and challenges.  Studying the best is a great starting point, but it's not the destination. They must be adapted.  Start small. Experiment. Work and rework. Eventually you'll develop the best practices that work best for you. 

Quality Vs. Speed: Decision Making Framing

Data is endless. Perfect information is not feasible. The pursuit will only lead to analysis paralysis. At the same time, you don't want to mindlessly act without facts.  Taking too long to act and acting without sufficient preparation, both lead to wasted time and resources. To decide whether to optimize for decision quality or speed, it's helpful to frame the situation.  Decisions can be one-way doors or two-way doors.  One-way doors are rare. These are entrance-only decisions where reversing course is very difficult. Given the commitment, you'll want to gather enough information to maximize your decision quality (pre-action learning).  Two-way doors are more common. They allow for easy entrance and exit. These decisions can be quickly undone if they turn out wrong. Optimize for speed (and post-action learning). It's much better to go through the door and see what's there than waiting at the doorstep. Don't like what's on the other side? Take your learnin

Brainstorming Better Together, Alone

Pain points, efficiencies, problems, desires. Opportunities come in all shapes and sizes. Regardless of what they look like or what we call them, it's our job to figure out the best ways to tackle them.  Brainstorming is common practice in the workplace. You get a group together and rapidly come up with ideas. In theory, this is a dynamic affair where folks are engaged and all voices are heard, tapping into everyone's unique perspectives and talents. A lot of ideas are generated, refined through debate, and the best ones bubble to the top.  In practice, this is a dull affair. The most vocal and the most senior dominate. The junior and the introverted passively nod along. And everyone else, simply coasts through. We wrap with a measly number of ideas, stemmed from a concentrated perspective, untested by challenge. To avoid this trap, turn brainstorming on its head. Start alone.  Instead of starting cold with everyone, warm up solo. Have each participate generate an individual se

Finding Question-Problem Fit

No matter your title, your job is to solve problems. Before you can solve, you must understand. Preliminary data will be limited, so it's up to you to ask questions. Putting together the pieces, building a foundation to act from. Problems are often framed as either symptoms or requests. Symptoms are too broad.  "Customer wait times are too long." You'll need to ask "what?" to uncover the underlying condition you're facing, before you can prescribe the appropriate treatment. "What is the support process?"  "What evidence demonstrates this problem?" "What is the current wait time and what is the target time" Requests are the reverse. Too specific.  "We need you to build a new onboarding email with XYZ features." To move forward with purpose (or to uncover if the action is even needed), focus on "why?". "Why do we need a new experience?"  "Is it because of we're targeting a new customer ba

Becoming a Better But-er

"But" -  it's   something we hate to hear after receiving good news. "That presentation was great, but there are things you need to work on." "I want to give you a raise, but it's not in the budget right now."  "I love you, but there are some things you could be more considerate with." We lead with the pleasant and wrap with the not so pleasant. This is unfortunate because we're conditioned to disregard what comes before "but" , and place a higher value on what comes after -  "The But Eraser/Enhancer Effect" . Thus, we're constantly dampening our positive statements while enhancing the negative.  Being mindful of this phenomenal, we can leave a more emotionally encouraging footprint by merely flipping the positioning.  "There are things that you need to work on, but  the presentation was great ." "It's not in the budget right now, but  I want to give you a raise ".  "T here are some