Semantics: Take a step back vs. Let´s travel into the future

Many people I work with are action oriented… they are patient for thinking and impatient for action. Personally, I perceive that this is a dangerous habit… why? Because, yes, you are getting busy, but are you really productive/effective? Most aren´t as effective as they could be…

Fail often, fail fast… really?
Today´s innovation and entrepreneurship mantra is “fail often, fail fast” so people “just do it”… Personally, however, I don´t think it is the optimal approach. I am totally ok with failure, but i strongly believe that stupid mistakes can be avoided, meetings can be more productive, and results can be achieved more effectively, if we learn to ask the right questions before searching for answers and producing deliverables…

Wait a minute…
So when the boss says: “we have to prepare a presentation”, everybody in the team shoots directly to PowerPoint or Prezi and shuffle slides together…

At this point, my intuition urged me to say “wait a minute… let´s take a step back and figure out what the problem is that we are trying to solve…”. I could see the shock on peoples face… the frustration of not being able to get things done immediately because they have so many other tasks to solve… And I can understand… taking a step back means you have to repeat work, pause activity, stop producing and at this point, people start getting defensive and I found myself in arguing and battling for which slide content can stay, and which has to leave… in which order to start the presentation, etc.

I knew that “reflection” was what they “needed“, but realised that it was not what they have “desired“…

In a great conversation with John Cooper, we came to the realized that the problem might be in the semantics… how we communicate… what the real job is that we want to get done with our words and then finding the right words to turn frustration into motivation.

Let´s make a trip into the future…
In our conversation we realised that the people might be getting more excited about “time-travel into the future” than “taking a step back… look at the big (confusing) picture”.

Hence, I have decided to give it a try and change semantics, take my colleagues “fast forward”… explore the desired outcome that we wish to achieve, identify the key success factors and move backward from there… I am already excited to see what the result will be…



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