The Lazy Squirrel is the Viable Squirrel

Caught up with Rocky today for a coffee on our State’s religious holiday. Turns out Rocky has a new plaything – a team of 4 innocent minds to mess with. Should be fun. In the course of the conversation Rocky had course to suggest something that I needed to do and so I responded with a deft “I am lazy therefore you better do it” manoeuvre. And that got me to thinking about laziness and viability.

One of the noob mistakes of the proto-leader is that you start out thinking your job is to make everyone else’s life easier by making yours harder – “take one for the team”, “clean up their mess” or “solve their problems”. The Captain thinks every time you do something like that you choose a non-viable future for both yourself and your team.

Each time an instance arises that you ‘could’ get involved – be lazy and ask the people involved to sort it out for themselves (that’s the lazy bit) – but also say that whatever they choose they should put that response up a ‘policy’ level response for anyone else in the group from this point forward. And they have to get the groups agreement that its a policy level response or its not going anywhere. Turns out that’s the viable bit. One person hit a snag and now we all know what to do if it happens again. Its also a Kantian response – “act such it was universal”. Its a leader response that creates group responsiveness.

Rocky got my drift. I didn’t have time to add the rule of 7 to the lazy viability gig. Each time your group creates a policy level response then it should also consider removing an earlier one. I mean like acorns do not just accumulate under trees do they? The old ones rot away and only the recent ones are OK to eat. Once again its viable to be lazy. You should be able to remember ALL your group policies. How many is too many? Try 7 plus or minus 2. I know Moses claimed to have 10 but almost no-one remembers the last 2-3. Hell even I have trouble with this last name of Snow White’s dwarves.

And once your group gets the taste of lazy viability then when you try to delegate a task to them to do guess what they say – “why don’t you find a solution and give it to us a policy?”  Damn lazy team.

Coffee with the Captain – Meeting Friday on Monday

Today I met Friday, an up-and-coming proto-practitioner.

“What do I do with an organisation that both needs to use foresight to be more effective but that also lacks the serious capacity to actually do the foresight?”

My suggestion was to not ask them to DO the foresight but instead ask them to USE the foresight that you (and others) have done for them.

One of the easiest mistakes that the proto-practitioner can make is to confuse that idea that people need to know HOW to do Foresight in order to USE foresight. I agree its nice if our clients could do and use Foresight but the risk is, and my experience says, that  you spend your organisational credibility and the clients bandwidth on the less important part of the brief at your peril. The lore of our field is full of people who “did the foresight bit” only to find they did not know “how” to use the foresight bit – hence foresight was a waster of time. Ergo – start looking for a new sandbox to play in.

(Aside here – do we ask our clients to do foresight with us so they can appreciate just how clever and talented we are? Do we do it in order to manage our own insecurity?)

My suggestion on Monday to Friday was generate a process that her internal clients could use great foresight ideas to help them solve their future dilemma’s quickly and enjoyably while also maximising their time effectively. And because you don’t have to keep the foresight generation process ‘simple’ then you can really go for broke with rigorous and complex data generation processes (read Morphology here!) that will stand up to serious professional scrutiny and that would also allow comparative study across repeat iterations of the data generation.

It was good coffee.