Failure

Brexit, CIO, Entrepreneurship, Failure, Leadership, Lean Startup, Philosophy, Product Management, Stability

Your “de-growth journey” and what it means


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When I read the HBR article here: https://hbr.org/2020/02/why-de-growth-shouldnt-scare-businesses I had one of those moments.  Read about why de-growth might not be such a bad thing after all.

When I was a child I was totally happy.  I lived in a small house in the black country, in a not too pretty road, looking out across the flats that rose over us.  We literally lived in their shadow.  We played with the kids in those flats but we didn’t dare enter the flats.  Even back then there was a feeling that these buildings would suck you into their soullessness.  There was no snobbery on the playground I must assure you.  If anything the kids in those flats were cool because they were street-wise and interesting but even at that age I could tell where the boundary was between hope and despair.  Even then I was aware that if the hole was big enough and deep enough, a person might never get out of it.

And so it is in business.  There is always a hole you might never get out of however smart, lucky, professional, likeable, etc etc you are.  And the 80’s kids amongst us, the Gen Xers, have pretty much been brain-washed that you “sell, sell, sell” and you “grow, grow, grow”.

But there was something they never taught us.  Nothing continues to grow endlessly.  Countries do not become more and more productive over time.  Look at Japan.  Arguably the most innovative country in the world.  People don’t simply get richer and richer with no interruption in their fortune.  If they appear to, they are either very lucky or very dishonest.  For in the dice we roll, for longer-term benefits, there is always a short term sacrifice.

And so it is with many things.  The planet.  We cannot go on in the same way and expect a different outcome.  We can be smarter and change our habits but the re-dress will be painful for some, make no mistake.  To stop chopping down rainforests we need to wean ourselves off palm oil, to go electric we must wean ourselves off the internal combustion engine.  What about classic cars?  What about the roar of an engine?  What about chocolate?  For everything, we win we inevitably lose at the same time.  The question is whether the equation of sacrifice and gain eventually tips in our favour.

Maybe all this is why 80’s actors like Richard Gere got into Buddhism.  https://www.lionsroar.com/impermanence-is-buddha-nature-embrace-changemay-2012/. The concept of impermanence called anicca (Pāli) or anitya (Sanskrit) is that everything is subject to change.  The body is finite and will eventually die.  Moments of suffering can be fleeting only because moments of joy are also fleeting too.

So the idea that business, or projects, products, or careers will continue on an upward trajectory with no interruptions or culd-de-sacs is as absurd from a practical perspective as it is from an Eastern philosophical perspective.

Eventually, they demolished those flats.   And the people within them moved into brand new maisonettes.  They were almost in the same place.  Meanwhile, at 21, as a graduate, I found myself living part-time with an unemployed musician in a block of flats down the road.  How times had changed.  Now it was my turn to stand in a dodgy smelling lift in a cheap suit.

So just think, right now about your “de-growth” time.  You may even be having it now, or just come out of it.  Is your life richer for the good times or for the bad?  Is your business better for the highs or for the lows?

The journey to clarity may not be comfortable but when you travelled there on the bus, the limousine is all the more satisfying.

Don’t beat yourself up in the troughs.  Think about how you can re-group with the space given to you by the silence of failure.

Entrepreneurship, Failure, Investment Management, Philosophy, Product Management, Strategy, Teams, Uncategorized

The Boy and the Starfish


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When the tide is coming in..

You need a team or a consultancy that can focus on solving one problem at a time.

A man was walking along a deserted beach at sunset. As he walked he could see a young boy in the distance, as he drew nearer he noticed that the boy kept bending down, picking something up and throwing it into the water.
Time and again he kept hurling things into the ocean.

As the man approached even closer, he was able to see that the boy was picking up starfish that had been washed up on the beach and, one at a time he was throwing them back into the water.

The man asked the boy what he was doing, the boy replied,”I am throwing these washed up starfish back into the ocean, or else they will die through lack of oxygen. “But”, said the man, “You can’t possibly save them all, there are thousands on this beach, and this must be happening on hundreds of beaches along the coast. You can’t possibly make a difference.”
The boy looked down, frowning for a moment; then bent down to pick up another starfish, smiling as he threw it back into the sea. He replied,

“I made a huge difference to that one!”

Author Unknown

 

agile, Failure, Investment Management, Lean, Project Management, Project Office, Scrum, Strategy, Uncategorized

Why do only 2.5% of companies successfully deliver 100% of their projects?


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PricewaterhouseCoopers reviewed 10,640 projects worldwide and found that only 2.5% of the companies successfully completed 100% of their projects.

Is this because people are incompetent?   It’s a sad look out for man kind if so.  However, the reality is likely more complicated..

  1.  People can’t concentrate on more than one thing at a time http://bit.ly/1etgh4B so as organisations are made up of people, that applies collectively to organisations as well.
  2. The more time we have to do something the less we achieve.  Take Kickstarter projects as just one example http://kck.st/1VjLaSi  Kickstarter changed the maximum length of a campaign from 90 days to 60 days in 2011 after realising that campaigns that ran for the full 90 days were successful only 24% of the time much less successful than shorter campaigns (over 44%).
  3. As humans we naturally radically under or over estimate what we can achieve.  Unlike pigeons(!) we use contextual information which can lead to biased judgments of interval duration, thereby reducing the precision of these estimates.  http://bit.ly/1XDbbKU

This is why at Magic Milestones we work on 3 themes:

  1. Creating a stable focused team Agile Experts
  2. Focusing on ‘the next right thing’ Lean PMO
  3. Creating a delivery culture using Lean Start-Up and Agile techniques.  Using hard data as a basis for predictions and planning we baseline performance then improve an organisation through  Consultancy & Training

Read more about why we do what we do via Our Story