One of my new favourite quotes came to me again this morning…
It came while I was allowing myself to dawdle amongst what felt like a ton of “stuff” that was “having” to be “done”.
W. Edwards Deming said “It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.”
Bastard. Survival is not mandatory.
A thousand years ago it was clearer. You adapted and changed when necessary or you starved or were killed. It was very clear “victim” behaviour. This is still the case in some parts of our world today – people choose to adapt or die.
Luckily, I live in a part of the world where “survival” is less of a target, and “levels of success” have replaced it.
So – we now have “It is not necessary to change. Success is not mandatory.” We can choose to keep doing the same behavior that gave us our current levels of success – or we can use that success level as feedback – and make changes that will increase it.
Or – we can keep doing the same things. Greater success is not compulsory?
Do you agree?
Filter Number 1.
Right now in our world there is accelerating change. On top of that, most of us have our view filtered by the fact that the vast majority of us have no clear definition of success in any of the roles we fill. This leads to the drive that “I….MUST……DO……MORE…”
We feel we must do more in every role – because lack of clarity of the ideal means that we never get to ‘tick it off’, to know that we have done it perfectly. So there is always a vacuum and we try to fill it with “more”.
This kinda the “vision” for a particular role.
Filter Number 2.
How many “hats” or roles do you have? Make a quick list. Father, husband, partner, brother, uncle, coach, investor, businessman, health fanatic, school supporter, charity helper, gardener, poet, musician, author… I am sure you have a few more.
Some of big hats, some little. Some frequent, some almost extinct.
The filter? Well – think about every role that you have – and answer the question “What is my vision for this role?” I am betting that you don’t have any that are really clear, or maybe one or two.
That being the case – how the heck to we make strategic and tactical decisions while in that role if we dont know what we are aiming at? Without the most important part of strategy development (the target!) – chances are that every single role just adds to your feeling of “overwhelm”.
We go from role to role, bashing ourselves up – because we don’t feel “masterful” about them. This makes us even more hesitant to make decisions – and life starts to feel “hard”.
We can hide, or use drugs or stay in denial about “everything is fine” – but there is a hole.
So how to do we break free of this hole? It seems simple – just have visions for every role. But when you try that – you will find there is another factor. Imagine you have just created another “hat” or role – “Guardian of the Visions” maybe – with the vision of ensuring that every role you have – has a clear vision. Cool. Right?
You just have to determine the vision for each role. Umm. How?
Filter Number 3
You need to know the two secret questions.
Luckily I tripped over them one day while juggling roles and visions. Here they are:
1. Why did put this role on your list of roles that are important?
2. ”What is important about each of the reasons that answer Question 1?”
These questions are designed to determine our values. Our values are what we feel or believe are important. It is handy if you can drill down and be able to list a series of words that define what is important about EACH role with its vision.
So – each role should have a vision and list of what is important about it – to be complete. If we try to build a vision with considering what is important – if will feel shallow and have little effect on us. If we have a values without a vision – we will not be able to apply strategy effectively [and will therefore NEVER have fulfillment in that role.
And to swing this back around to Deming – our roles, values and visions do change. This is not good or bad. Things that used to be important can become less or more so. Ignoring those changes and continuing the exact same behaviour means keeping the “hole” – that we usually attempt to fill with “more”.
Please comment below – I am curious about how people perceive this.