While the iron is hot

Of course it’s a good idea to strike while the iron is hot. If striking iron is what you do and you find some hot iron you should strike before it gets cold. It’s far better to strike than to spend time and energy re-heating the iron later. The same goes if a friend happens to heat some iron up…

Easier than sometimes

“Definitely, once a week,” is easier than “sometimes,” and “daily” is easier than once a week. A daily ritual keeps something front-of-mind, makes it almost automatic, ensures that whatever else happens, a small step gets made. Once the pattern is established, you don’t need to think about it – the decision has already been made. Weekly rituals are a bit…

Easier than maybe

“Always” and “never” are easier than “maybe”. “Maybe” requires a decision, introduces ambiguity. Most of our decisions start as “maybes” (hence the need for a decision). It can help to have a process for deciding, some criteria or a set of rules to avoid the effort of re-deciding next time you’re faced with a similar situation. “Maybe” can so often…

Tim O’Reilly on debugging your organisation

The skill of debugging is to figure out what you really told your program to do instead of what you thought you told your program to do. Tim O’Reilly quoting Andrew Singer on The Product Science Podcast Tim O’Reilly takes the idea of debugging simple code and applies it to fixing the successful-but-damaging algorithms of the large tech companies that…

The discipline death spiral

You make a bad decision (because everybody does).* You get busy fixing it – on top of all the other things you were already doing. You get tired and distracted. You start doing less of the right things, less well, and in more of a hurry. Because you’re in a hurry, you do less well in your interactions with people.…

Five Questions: Rob Quail

1. Introduce yourself: who are you, what do you do, and why is it important? I’m Rob Quail, I’m a part professional Blue Badge tour guide for London and the South, and a director of Open Gates Management, a consultancy that project manages restorations and reorderings and redevelopments of historic churches. These two very different lines of work are both…

The Toolkit – Part 1: Foundations (6) – from vision to mission

This post is part of the working draft of the DriverlessCrocodile Toolkit (read more here). I’d love comments, links to resources related to the theme, and original contributions. From vision to mission If a vision statement is a statement about ends (the world you’re working to make a reality), a mission statement is about means: what are the primary activities…

Peter Drucker on balancing short and long term goals

If a manager does not take care of the next hundred days, there will be no next hundred years. Whatever the manager does should be sound in expediency as well as in basic long-range objective and principle. And where he cannot harmonize the two time dimensions, he must at least balance them. He must calculate the sacrifice he imposes on…

Stories of deliberate practice

Outliers is an excellent place to start. It features the story of Mozart’s “genius” and the Beatle’s “overnight success” told through the lens of the 10,000 hour rule and deliberate practice. (More on Mozart here.) If you don’t feel like buying a book, this article in the New Yorker (also by Gladwell) is another great example. And if you missed…

Anders Ericsson on deliberate practice

Repetition is the mother of skill Tony Robins* Tony Robins is mostly right. 10,000 hours You’re probably familiar with the 10,000 hour rule as ‘discovered’ by Anders Ericsson and popularised by Malcolm Gladwell in ‘Outliers‘. If you haven’t heard much about this before, I highly recommend Freakonomics Radio episode 244, “How to Become Great at just about Anything.” It’s a…