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Examine the management of PERFECT

by | Jan 11, 2022 | manage, Perfect, Son House

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Examine your management process: is it mindful of what you really want? And how does PERFECT impact those around you? What does Incremental progress look like?

If you examine your management process, is it Designed for Thinking?

I had reached the point in the day’s interviews to meet with the Senior VP who would potentially be my manager. It was a large company, growing fast, and more than likely, you are reading this from a server that is hosted in their cloud. I asked:  “How do you handle mistakes?” His confident reply – “The people we hire do not make mistakes”. I did not take the job…

… after careful examination. Well not that careful – as I know that people learn the most and fastest from their mistakes. Most of all, me. Now I am not suggesting a cavalier approach to “just do something” random, but CONSCIOUSLY focusing on constantly being PERFECT has so many other negative pathologies. Just a few to mention: MicroManagement, Lack of Transparency, and Developing Weak Direct Reports, Burnout… to say nothing about Lack of Innovation or Creativity. It is perhaps why I work so hard to ENCOURAGE mistakes and learning…

PERFECT is not good for managing People… so are you?

‘… and I am not alone. Again the device you are reading this on was developed using a whole new approach to Thinking. Emerging out of Human Factors Engineering in the mid-’60s, Design Thinking is an approach that realizes that systems need to account for/adapt to the highly non-linear nature of People. The current description of Design Thinking includes User-Centered Design (UX), Agile Thinking, and funny sound terms like Scrum, Backlog, Grooming – which I know I need, but that’s another story…

Blues Examined: the PERFECT people-centric music you can think about…

In the ’20s and 30’s the distinction between religious music and ‘sinful music’ was very clearly defined in the black community: the former was used to praise God, the latter to talk about women and alcohol. The Blues was seen as the Devil’s music and those who practiced it were outsiders in the community. Son House spent the first years of his life preaching about God, even working as a pastor in a church, adamantly against “sin music”. And at the age of 25, around 1927, he gave it all up, picked up a guitar, and started preaching the Blues.

His previous faith gave his performances a strength that had never been seen before. House would sing rolling his eyes, as if he was in ecstasy – of course, now those ecstasies were about other things. And as Jack noted yesterday, he claps out of time, and doesn’t even play guitar “right”. He picked up a beer bottle, moved down the neck to make notes, thus inventing slide guitar – because he didn’t know better. His primitive and emotional style of playing fed the well from which all the legends such as Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters would drink.

If you want the PERFECT life, Examine the other direction…

Design Thinking has now been applied to what you want next in your career, life, and one of the new cornerstones of my work. Designing Your Life is a New York Times bestseller, and more importantly, something that I have used personally and with other leaders who are searching for what is their PERFECT next step. And one of the tenets is to be Mindful of Process. That includes realizing that incremental steps converge towards the next logical step, and beyond that, you simply need to constantly experiment. Mistakes are welcome, as you learn something. And in computer systems, it turns out that is better than building the PERFECT wrong thing…. You would think we would learn that with important things like our life.

What management process do you need to Examine to prevent PERFECT?

“I want to design the PERFECT organizational structure for this re-org – can you help me?” Sure, let’s examine that premise. “How long did the previous structure last?” “9 months”. The one before that? “6 months”. The one before that? “9 months”. So how long should this one last? As in other examples, the key of the song I was observing changed as the leader realized they could simply try something for a few months, and then adjust it. Stay away from PERFECT if you don’t want to keep Preachin the Blues.

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