In order to achieve something, you need to make yourself accountable, establish focus, keep the score, and work on those lead measures!
Just finished this amazing book ‘4 disciplines for execution’. I thought it will be a lot of theory and dryness in the book, but I finished it in no time and it was one of those light bulb books that you wished the whole world had read it.
Did you ever find yourself in a situation where you think 24 hours a day is not enough? Did you ever think about what You could do to improve it? Once again I bumped into ‘too much’ wagon and ‘establish focus’ importance. In Kanban first thing what we usually do is to lower WIP limits in order to achieve a better, faster flow. Making sure the team stays focused and understands what are we working on next. If you balancing your work items why not balance your strategy items too? The secret in achieving your goals either it's at work or in your personal life you need to establish clear focus. I can not imagine focusing on many items at the same time. Usually, that is why ‘24 hours a day is not enough’ pops into my head straight away. We need to make sure that we have only very few ideas that we are trying to make a reality at once. There is no way even the biggest organizations in the world can work on 10 things at the same time. In order to follow strategic plans, you need to set a few goals that are absolutely necessary to get where you want to be. These need to be public to all teams within your organization and then different teams can align themselves with the main goals. One thing at the time! Focus on the wildly important!
Once you know what is that most important thing in your organization — act on lead measures. This is the trickiest part of all. Whenever I worked in different teams we always looked at our historical data (metrics) and tried to understand why certain numbers appeared there and there. Interestingly enough most of the time people would look at the slides, nod their heads, leave the room and that was it! All this time we been looking at lag measures and had no interest to move them. This is the main problem in many organizations, people look at their metrics, their historical data, but there is not much done about it. Imagine you trying to lose weight, and all you do is look at the scales every Friday morning and that is it. Well, let's agree that the extra weight that you want to lose will not just magically go away. You are looking at your lag measure. In order for that measure to move what you could do is introduce a couple of lead measures — eating healthier and exercising more. If you can influence these it means you can move your lag measures. It is hard to find lead measures straight away. Sometimes metrics show you one thing, but underlying causes for that are in a completely different area. But only by exploring and trying can you make difference. Act on those lead measures in order to see improvements in your lag measures!
Scoreboard. Imagine you are watching Leeds United game, they are about to go to the premier league, but there is only a game, loads of passes, someone scores the goal, 85 min into the game and you have no idea who is winning because there is no scoreboard! Everybody needs to know if they are winning or not. They need to know where they are. Instantly. Therefore you need a scoreboard. Understand where you want to be, where you are, and what's left to do to get there. It has to be simple, but looking at it within seconds you need to understand where you are. People get more engaged if they know the score. People come up with different ideas when they can be involved. Give them purpose and that is all they need to be on top of things. Healthy competition is always appreciated. Spice up that day to day tasks!
One of my favorite ones is accountability. Make them accountable and people will come to you with a bunch of improvements. It has to be from the top down though in order to work, at least in my opinion. If your boss is driving the change and making themselves accountable for something, there is more chance that the rest of the team will ‘catch’ that and get involved in the process much quicker. If people can count on you, you feel more responsible. You feel part of the team. You feel important. That is sometimes enough and that sometimes does more than pay raises and other perks. People want to be accountable and recognized. Involving everyone in the process means you don’t run like a headless chicken and have no time for anything else. Share responsibilities. Drive change together. Accept different ideas.
It is an eye-opener book. I was very glad to see this suggestion on twitter and have this book as part of my little library. Amazing things can be achieved when they are managed mindfully. Focus. Focus. Focus. Maybe because I am passionate about Kanban it clicked with me straight away, but I would highly recommend this book to anyone who feels like there are not enough hours in a day to do things. Either you want to improve your personal life or your work experience. Read it and share it and don’t give up! Brilliant things can be done when you and your team can prioritize the most important and work towards that one goal at the time.