Friction in the wrong places slows us down and drains our energy, but it has its uses:
- Friction in processes or emotional friction it’s often a sign that we have work to do
- Friction is our friend when we need to be slowed down – it makes us pause, think, look before we leap and check that things are right. Getting people to agree to things, formal sign offs and purchasing processes all have their place.
- Friction can be a filter – making something more difficult can encourage people to drop out, help them (or you) to realise it’s not for them, saving everyone time.
So what? Some questions.
- Where are the most painful points of friction in your workflow? What slows you down – or slows others down as they work with or for you? Are there barriers you can remove to make things easier? Which relationships do you need to invest in – or end?
- Where do things happen faster than you’d like? Add a step – a form to be completed, a permission, an audition – to slow things down.
- Use friction to discourage people who aren’t serious. Make it meaningful and relevant (like giving you information that you always need to ask for or candidates demonstrating a skill in a real piece of work). Fewer people coming through a process allows you to do better work with those that do.