Counterintuitive as it may seem, it’s arguably more important to have an explementation* plan than an implementation plan. In other words, make sure you have clarity in how you will remove and change a process, system, software or else as fast as possible. We put too much effort and focus on how quickly we can put something in place and we forget that getting rid of it is what will give you the adaptability and agility you need.
So, for example, if someone is trying to sell you software and produces a super fast and cheap plan to put things in place, ask also for the plan that shows how easy is to remove it. The harder it is to remove something the higher the probability you will fall behind and be unable to keep up with the pace of markets...
Stay as nimble and agile as you can, protect your flexibility, it’s arguably one of the most important traits you can have to succeed in the future.
*explementation: new word :-) - the opposite to implementation - removing what you previously put in place.
What makes the difference is not how much knowledge you have acquired but how quickly can you acquire new knowledge. Sure your accumulated knowledge from your experiences are hugely important. But in today’s regular and rapid changing markets it’s unlikely experiences you have had in the past are enough, you must acquire new knowledge, fast and at an ever increasing pace. You must match it with your past knowledge and experiences, and you must make regular adjustments.
What worked may not work again, what was may not be again, what you believed may not be true no more. So updated experience or experience that is augmented with current knowledge is useful, static experience is often deadly. . Which makes me wonder....how awesome would it be to know your rate of knowledge acquisition? At what speed do you acquire new knowledge? Have you tapped out? Meaning you are acquiring as much knowledge and as fast as it’s physically possible for you? Have you stopped or slowed down? Do you let it happen to you or you drive it? Do you exercise this skill? Are you getting faster and better? There should be a number huh? A unit we use....”I acquire knowledge at the rate of 1gb per hr my goal is 5gb”
key performance indicators
KPIs kill common sense. KPIs are like an antidote, the perfect way to disarm the sense we struggle with the most. I was asked recently how to KPI innovation and this is what i said: Innovation is action, action applied to unsolved problems to resolve them. ANY KPI that helps any team (from legal to reception to product) measure the process of solving problems is a way of measuring innovation...BUT...as i said I am not a massive fan of KPIs as they tend to stand in the way of common sense. KPIs are also generally too static for the pace of change we are experiencing, the only way to make any KPI relevant is to review them daily! That’s a massive tax...so if you have them, few and regularly updated please ;-)
Innovation requires action... BIGGER, MORE, LATER - tends to be our natural tendency. We always grab ideas and complicate them, add more to them, make them bigger and end up leaving them for later! SMALLER, LESS, NOW! This is the frame of mind we need to be in. Simplify, focus, start small and start now. Doing it beats talking about it, go on, do it, it’s addictive!
coach - manager - leader
A good developer friend reminded me on Twitter a few days ago something I used to say to my team:
“ I loved the framing I learned from @gusbalbontin years ago - you need someone to coach you (improve skill), someone to manage you (remove blockers), and someone to lead you (give direction + purpose) “
Let me add, irrespective of those roles being formally part of your job description or title, if you belong to a team (literally always) they are informally your responsibility. You have to always, coach, manage and/or lead, you cannot shake the responsibility if you want to achieve things with others ;-). ...
Don’t let anyone’s realistic expectations destroy your unrealistic dreams! Somebody needs to be unrealistic at some point in time to create new realities. The damage we unintentionally cause in the development of our kids through the school system is often a worry for me, situations that may seem small have a powerful long lasting impact happen every day.
My 12 yr old and the rest of the class had to do a budgeting exercise at school a few days ago. The idea is to first identify what your income would be in 10 yrs time and then figure housing, expenses, food, etc and conclude with savings. He looks up the average income of a professional NFL player, writes down $20m per year and starts the exercise. The teacher says “it’s going to be hard to figure out costs in America....let’s pick something more “realistic”. The teacher then convinces him on a Job as a chef for $70k per year. I was not impressed. That night I told my kids: “my life has been anything but realistic, someone has to be unrealistic at some point in time for new realities to exist. Our life right now is unrealistic but here we are, forging forward carving our unrealistic path, not someone else’s realistic path. Kids! Unrealistic is critical”
If you want time to slow down or you want to improve your creativity ensure you hit your brain with novelty far more regularly than you probably are now.
Exposing your senses to the same stimulus will only force your brain to commit as much of it as it can to the subconscious and time will not only seem to speed up but you will spend most of your day unaware and unable to recollect what happened...you know, when you were just in autopilot and life just passed you by.
Novelty, remember, seek it, learn to enjoy it.
a team of one
Don’t think for a second that Team principles don’t apply to you because you work alone in your business or you have no team in your company. Team principles apply always in every scenario in which people come together to deliver an outcome. Even a business of one has to work with clients, suppliers, agents....that’s your team.
For example, we are building a home at the moment and Team still applies for the architect, engineer, landscape architect, my wife, myself and the builder, even if we don’t technically have a business hierarchy with reporting lines and job descriptions...we have to apply the same fundamentals of Team if we hope to succeed at building our home! What are those principles? We must CARE, TRUST, ADMIRE, RESPECT and have a COMMON GOAL. Start applying team principles to everything you do with all the people you do it with, at work and outside of work, trust me, it works!
Wowsers! 2018 was extra large! Lots of growth and learning and sharing and adventuring! Thank you, thank you thank you to all my audiences and clients and agent and epic team mates! I love you all! An extra special thanks to my pretty wife who is always there making it happen and keeping me real 😘 in 2018 we took the kids to Tasmania, Fiji, Piccaninnie Ponds, Mt Buller, Gold Coast, Townsville Ballarat, Anglesea and Hawaii! Yew!! Here are some of the places I’ve been to in my 220,500km 295hrs on planes: Sydney - Blue Mountains - Brisbane - Melbourne - Adelaide - Mumbai - Sanctuary Cove - Kingscliff - Geelong - Benowa - Townsville - Auckland - Gold Coast - Luxembourg - Bali - Singapore - Tauranga - Mulwala - Newcastle - Kuala Lumpur - Hobart - Gippsland - Canberra - Coffs Harbour - Byron Bay - Perth - Queenstown - Katherine NT - Hawaii - San Remo - Nelson NZ!
A vision plays an key role in gathering a disparate cohort of humans to collaborate. They are important, often abstract, concepts we agree upon and rally around. You probably have heard me say you need “A clear vision and a vague plan” primarily referring to the “vague plan” bit as I always say planning too much is a waste. But let me share a few thoughts on the vision.
Please don’t ever confuse a clear vision with a short sentence perfectly wordsmithed that never changes. In my opinion it is less about the vision never changing or being perfectly expressed and more about regularly communicating it and sharing it so it’s owned by the entire team.
I rather the vision emerging and evolving as the business develops and evolves than being able to impress someone with your language skills. So a clear vision could be better expressed this way:
“a < regularly-openly-communicated-perhaps-not-so-perfect-but-always-evolving-and-definetly-owned-and-shared > vision”
As counterintuitive as it may seem, we don’t embrace new solutions that excludes us from making a salary, nor do we look for ways to remove the problem we solve....Working on finding ways to get rid of yourself will actually guarantee your long time relevance. We hold tight to our fleeting importance and fragile significance yet there isn’t a quicker path to irrelevance than to get in the way of new solutions.
This applies to you as an individual but also to your team, your department, your business and your industry....Create, embrace and enable new solutions! ...
the vulnerability of success
When you are at your most successful...you are also at your most vulnerable. This does not just apply to your business but also it applies to you. When we are hitting our KPIs and our bank account looks healthy we drop the guard and let ourselves relax thinking “we’ve got this”. Disruption is here to stay and markets are and will continue to be as unpredictable as we’ve seen them and then some. Don’t ever let arrogance get in the way, make sure you are always considering scenarios, keeping perspective and checking your bias.
Ideas to test ideas, that’s the key to unlock useful innovation! The hardest part of solving a customer problem is not the original idea you come up with (which I always say most of them are terrible) but the ideas you need to come up with to test that original solution and see if it works. How often we spend time in brainstorming sessions, generating hundreds of ideas, only to forget to think about how to actually test them fast and cheap in front of customers. We instead tend to judge them on cost, capability some biased research or gut feel.
Marketing plays a key role in this, they should be part of the process and obsessed with helping product development try ideas in market, obsessed with test ideation and evidence based action. The Coke-and-Sandwich-focus-group market research is dead, long live evidence based market research.-
The Future of Sports
I mentioned a number of times I come from the future, I had to go back the other day and thought I would share a little insight ;-). In the next 30 years the world of sports will experience a revolution we have not seen since sport emerged as perhaps a hunting practise thousands of years ago. Think about it, boxing, football, athletics remain as primitive as they ever were....in other words, if you grab an Mayan who played pitz (or Pelota Maya) and drop her in a game of Australian Football Rules it won’t take her long to adjust.
What Virtual reality, Mixed reality and AI will do to sport dwarfs what drugs did to it over the last 30 years! Drugs just improved the current sport, mixed reality will mash sports and create brand new ones, blending into it even video games we played as kids - future F1 has Mario actually racing in it! —
polished past vs new future
Don’t confuse a polished up past with a brand new future - I often have well established businesses pitch products to me that are the old product polished up. Think about it: an online course still a course just online, teaching kids the same curriculum in an iPad is hardly innovation.
Those perceived improvements may extend your relevance temporarily but will not guarantee your future. Catch yourself when you fix the customer problem and ask: are we polishing the past or creating a new future?.
what makes a great destination
The epic team at Hospitality New Zealand invited me recently to Queenstown to have a little chat about business transformation, adaptability and the challenges of growth.
A city can learn from the way a start up operates. There is a lot more in common that meets the eye. The growth pains NZ tourism is experiencing right now are no different to business growth pains. Fast growth is a little like trying to drink water from a firehose! It’s hard but much better than having no water at all. Remember, there are good problems to have and bad problems to have, this is a good one, NZ is on demand. It’s important to stay focused and balanced, growth is critical but not at the expense of stability.
Watch out that in the pursuit of catering for tourists you don’t forget your locals. What makes New Zealand special for tourist is exactly what makes New Zealand special for locals with a sprinkle of extra accommodation ;-)... scarcity is your friend...keep it desirable! thank you Tim Wilson from TVNZ for a rad chat for Seven Sharp! (yes click on the link if you want to watch the interview! :-)
The art of uncommon sense is unfortunately strong within us.
Let me paint a picture: your business is suffering the pinch of disruption; the viability of your product and service is looking a bit ordinary, your revenue starts declining and new competitive entrants are a daily occurrence.
Here is our response: we bunker down, tighten up, put more scrutiny on everything making people more concerned with failure and avoid trying new things; we centralize everything ensuring only a handful of people have the power to make all the decisions, of course everyone reverts back to behaving like kids by having no authority and no accountability.
To deal with disruption you need to do exactly the opposite, you need common sense. Push power to the edges, ensure your business is as diverse as possible, as autonomus to make decisions and fail as possible, and as fast as possible. People need to feel and behave like adults, and to do so they need to be empowered, autonomous and have the authority to make decisions. Learn fast, fail small and repeat.