First from the source, then from the sides: Seth Godin on how change happens

Your wishes are pure, the change is important, and it’s going to make things better. And you probably believe that things would be better if everyone got on board. But everyone won’t. Everyone won’t hear you. They won’t understand you. And most of all, they won’t act. … Sooner or later, the culture changes. But not because you brought everyone…

Contribution

Skimming a book of biographies of mathematicians I see few originators but many contributors: “She advanced the study of…” “He made many invaluable contributions…” “He shaped the teaching of mathematics…” “She vitally affected the development of the field…” “He helped to introduce the method…” “He founded two academies…” “She enhanced the methods…” “By combining field X and Y, he opened…

A non-trivial improvement

How much of an impact does a project need to have? How much change is necessary for the work to be worth it? What you see as laborious inefficiency might feel like light work to a person doing “their thing.” If it results in a non-trivial improvement – even for a few people – it’s probably worth celebrating.

Enough for today

These big problems. These broken tools. It will never be enough. Your part in “enough” is smaller than you think. Let the steps you took and the seeds you planted be enough for today. The important thing is that you come back tomorrow.

Henri Nouwen on service, starting small and seeing clearly

At times, we might be involved in larger things – clothing the naked, sheltering the poor, helping the refugees, visiting the sick or imprisoned, but it is always small to begin with. It begins with small gestures. Being kind to your family and the people you work with, saying a patient word, writing a card, sending a flower. Be attentive.…

“What can I do?”

… is the question you’ve been waiting to be asked, and it deserves your full attention. Who’s asking? What are they doing now? What can they do? What could they do? (Should you tell them? Should you ask them to tell you?) What else will it take from you to make it happen? Un-busy yourself, spend some time thinking about…

Customer hierarchy (2)

It’s well accepted that great organisations focus on delighting their customers. But we talk less about managing the sometimes conflicting needs of multiple customers (see yesterday’s post). A good way to manage this tension is to draw up a customer hierarchy for your team: when we need to compromise between competing customers, who do we delight? Here’s what it looks…

Customer hierarchy (1)

It’s good to keep your products – and I include services as part of product – as focused as possible on the needs of your customers. One catch is that you are almost certainly serving multiple costumers: The people you hope to impact with your product End users of your product The people choosing and buying your product Any other…

A long queue

A long queue for what you’re selling is a good problem to have. It means people want what you have, and are willing to pay the price you’re asking and pay the additional time it takes them to queue to get it. It means that what you’re selling is scarce – you might even have a monopoly. The question is,…