Ep 54 – Pick a Lane
In traffic, it is critical that other drivers be able to anticipate your behaviour; you need to be clear about your direction and your intentions if you want everyone to stay safe. But the same can be said about business. And that is what we will talk about in this episode of So Here’s My Story.
That, and the time that Jodi almost ruined Pajama Day.
Why is that important for business?
You have to pick a lane, in driving and in business. People, including your employees and your clients, have the right to rely on the fact that you are going to proceed logically in that direction and give them warning as to whether and why you are changing.
Accidents tend to happen when you do something unexpected. Other drivers have the right to anticipate what you are going to do; if they have a reasonable expectation of what you are going to do, and you don’t hold with that, accident happen. This doesn’t mean you can’t change lanes, in traffic or business, but you have to put on your blinker.
When businesses are in start up mode, it would be unfair to not expect there to be changes, but you have to set the expectation that this will be an adaptable, quick pivot culture for the next while; you have to set up the expectation that there will be regular change. But that unique environment aside, you are never going to create the behaviour you want if everything is unexpected and changing and nobody has a north star to follow.
The decision to change lanes isn’t inherently wrong, either. What follows that decision is important – you have to consider who you are affecting, what route will accomplish the change most efficiently and with the least potential for chaos, and what the unintended consequences of the change might be.
There is a difference in adding in innovations into the way you do things vs innovating your business model over and over again – it is the difference between changing a play in the game and changing the game altogether. People get confused and time and energy are wasted when we change lanes too often.
When asking your team to do something new, you also have to consider the question: “Instead of what?” – what would you like them to stop doing to allow them to do this new thing? The task list that comes from an idea is much more than the idea itself.
Initiative fatigue is a very real thing.
As Stephen Covey (can’t find source) explains, if you have 0-3 strategic initiatives, you will probably accomplish 2 things; if you have 4-6 initiatives, you will accomplish just 1; but if you have over 6 strategic initiatives, you won’t accomplish any. Diffused effort and lack of clarity of what really matters kills results.
Saying no to a lot of really good ideas in order to say yes to just a couple is a large, but challenging, part of business success.
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