GUEST POST from Mike Shipulski
With one eye open and the other closed, you have no depth perception. With two eyes open, you see in three dimensions. This ability to see in three dimensions is possible because each eye sees from a unique perspective. The brain knits together the two unique perspectives so you can see the world as it is. Or, as your brain thinks it is, at least.
And the same can be said for an organization. When everyone sees things from a single perspective, the organization has no depth perception. But with at least two perspectives, the organization can better see things as they are. The problem is we’re not taught to see from unique perspectives.
With most presentations, the material is delivered from a single perspective with the intention of helping everyone see from that singular perspective. Because there’s no depth to the presentation, it looks the same whether you look at it with one eye or two. But with some training, you can learn how to see depth even when it has purposely been scraped away.
And it’s the same with reports, proposals, and plans. They are usually written from a single perspective with the objective of helping everyone reach a single conclusion. But with some practice, you can learn to see what’s missing to better see things as they are.
When you see what’s missing, you see things in stereo vision.
Here are some tips to help you see what’s missing. Try them out next time you watch a presentation or read a report, proposal, or plan.
When you see a WHAT, look for the missing WHY on the top and HOW on the bottom. Often, at least one slice of bread is missing from the why-what-how sandwich.
When you see a HOW, look for the missing WHO and WHEN. Usually, the bread or meat is missing from the how-who-when sandwich.
Here’s a rule to live by: Without finishing there can be no starting.
When you see a long list of new projects, tasks, or initiatives that will start next year, look for the missing list of activities that would have to stop in order for the new ones to start.
When you see lots of starting, you’ll see a lot of missing finishing.
When you see a proposal to demonstrate something for the first time or an initial pilot, look for the missing resources for the “then what” work. After the prototype is successful, then what? After the pilot is successful, then what? Look for the missing “then what” resources needed to scale the work. It won’t be there.
When you see a plan that requires new capabilities, look for the missing training plan that must be completed before the new work can be done well. And look for the missing budget that won’t be used to pay for the training plan that won’t happen.
When you see an increased output from a system, look for the missing investment needed to make it happen, the missing lead time to get approval for the missing investment, and the missing lead time to put things in place in time to achieve the increased output that won’t be realized.
When you see a completion date, look for the missing breakdown of the work content that wasn’t used to arbitrarily set the completion date that won’t be met.
When you see a cost reduction goal, look for the missing resources that won’t be freed up from other projects to do the cost reduction work that won’t get done.
It’s difficult to see what’s missing. I hope you find these tips helpful.
Image credit: Pixabay
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