crawling just start

 

===============

 

“If all you can do is crawl, start crawling.”

 

—–

Rumi

 

==============

 

That night the wind stirred in the forsythia bushes,

 

but it was a wrong one, blowing in the wrong direction.

 

That’s silly. How can there be a wrong direction?

 

It bloweth where it listeth,’ as you know, just as we do

 

————

John Ashbery

 

=================

 

 

Ok.

 

One would think getting started would be one of the easiest things in the world start somewhere wordsto do.

 

 

One would be wrong.

 

 

Oddly, in business, and Life I imagine, getting started is one of the more challenging things we encounter.

 

 

We hem.

We haw.

We wax poetically.

We gnash our teeth.

We plan.

We plan some more.

We play out a zillion ‘what of scenarios.’

We make assignments; discuss the assignments and who will do the assignments.

We discuss the assignments again.

We debate whether the right people are assigned to assignments.

We reassign assignments and assign milestones, checklists and a variety of “we do not have confidence in you so we will set up a labyrinth of reporting checks & balances for you so that you know we do not have confidence in you.”

We wait until the wind blows in the right direction <even though no one is sure what the wrong direction is – to blows in whatever direction it blows, doesn’t it?>.

 

 

And then maybe, just maybe, we get started.

 

We do all of this under the guise of insuring we get right whatever we start. Uhm. And we do this knowing full well, at least in business, the odds of something going wrong is near almost 100% on any given project.

 

I imagine a part of our hesitation to start is our ‘self’ trying to address the feeling of not being ‘expert enough’ right out of the starting blocks gate. That certainly holds a lot of people back from even trying because while you may not care about being the absolute best, or even being perfect, you don’t want to suck or look stupid <or, at minimum, we desire to limit our suckedness>.

 

Making a mistake is one thing.

 

Making a stupid mistake is another.

 

I wish business would more often view workflow as learning to ride a bike. Chances are you weren’t an expert your first try … crashing into shit, banging the crap out of yourself … but most times you persisted and not only figured it out but got pretty good at riding the frickin’ bike.

 

The problem is that business looks at those crashes and bumps & bruises as “mistakes” <despite the fact they happen all the time and to everyone>.

Yeah.

 

That is something a shitload of people don’t talk about a lot.

 

The fact that Businesses face failures and mistakes <of the system or process or of people> all the time.

 

Sometimes small, sometimes large … but all the time. Most mistakes stay under the radar and are relatively harmless. They are simply the cost of doing business … as humans.

worst mistake

 

 

However.

 

Far too often these failures come to the attention of some manager within the system and then THEY bring it to everyone’s attention. And therein lies the bigger business truth … discerning the type of error – exception or systematic.

 

That said. With regard to mistakes … business people tend to fall into one of two categories:

 

  • Those who see the exception as systemic <a reflection of an ongoing issue>

 

 

  • Those who see the exception as … well … an exception

 

I could argue that the difference between a good leader and a bad leader can be found by which category they fall into.

 

I cannot tell you how many times I have sat in a business meeting watching people wring their hands and speculate on ‘why did this happen?” <that speculation is the business version of ‘misinformation’, in other words, ‘made up’ version of why things happened the way they did>.

 

But.

 

Once the misinformation is stripped away, the remaining question is, and always will be, how big is the mistake <not whether it was stupid or not or should it have been known or not>?

 

And therein lies the flaw in how business tends to view these exceptions <mistakes> in today’s business world.

 

We seek some absurd level of perfection and in doing so we shut down in dealing with an exception with the incredibly stupid intent to break <or revisit> a well-designed, well working system <or even a well-trained, highly capable employee> to eliminate a … well … a stupid mistake <although almost no one can truly discern the difference between a stupid mistake, a mistake or simply a failure of the system itself>.

 

How does this apply to getting started?

 

This translates into having our head on a swivel before we even start.

 

We look for trouble where there truly is none.

 

We find issues everywhere … even when it is simply a perception … or worse … a speculative ‘what if’ issue.

 

And, maybe the worst, in all of our speculative modeling and ‘what if scenarios’ we absurdly end up applying the wrong remedy <or sometimes an unnecessary remedy> against something that is … uhm … speculative for god’s sake.

 

Look.

 

If you do some research on what slows people from getting started you will find one word over and over again – fear. It is often used simplistically and … well … inappropriately. I imagine if I stretch my thinking I could suggest fear is at the root of hesitation but I kind of think it is just most of us just do not want to suck. We truly do want to get shit right. Therefore it would seem gale wind almost everyone faces at the starting gate is one thing – the unknown. And this unknown is multi-dimensional in that there is a forward unknown <you may not have done this exact assignment or task before>, there is the general unknown <each task lives contextually in a different environment therefore even if you have done something once before the new context will invariably mean you will face something new> and the unknown unknowns <the random shit that inevitably occurs in the business world>.

 

Shit.

After reading that I don’t know why anyone actually starts anything.

 

Shit.

After reading that I don’t know why anyone would ‘go full speed’ but rather aim for some mediocrity as it would appear to be a safer more conservative path.

 

Oh.

 

But here is where the unknown really hits you hard in business – accountability. In business, regardless of whether you encounter knowns or unknowns, you are accountable.

 

Shit.

 

Double shit.

 

 

accountability quote

In business most time <I think> getting started is so hard because … well … you are accountable once you start <albeit … you will also be accountable if you don’t start … it just seems a little less risky>.

 

Accountability is a sonuvabitch.

 

It is a sonuvabitch because even just one bad thing seems to create a crisis scenario.

 

And therein lies the biggest challenge.

 

Inevitable criticism occurs based on some perception of perfectionism <because the world around you almost absurdly always believe you should have foreseen the knowns AND unknowns>.

 

It is an unfortunate truth that people expect certain things … and often these ‘certain things’ are unrealistic.

 

Look.

 

I am all for striving for perfection with an eye toward the implementation of an idea.

But as with so many aspects of life, the key is striking a balance between opposing forces, each with its own set of pros and cons.

 

Too little perfectionism leads to a rapid but undesirable endpoint.

 

Too much perfectionism leads to analysis paralysis and no endpoint at all.

 

perfection is shitTo be clear.

 

Perfection is shit. It is shit because things just happen in business.

 

All.

The.

Frickin’.

Time.

 

I say that because it sure would encourage more people to get started if we embraced the truth that not everything, and not every mistake, is a crisis.

 

And you know what? Even if you do face a crisis it has a familiar pattern.

 

You’re knocked off balance.

 

You learn.

 

You adapt.

 

Anyway.

 

The truth is that the wind, more often than not, blows in the wrong direction … even though … well … how can a wind blow in the wrong direction?

My point on that so many times we wait on getting started until the wind is blowing in the right direction and … well … it never will.

The wind just blows.

And we just need to get started.

 

I will admit. I have always been a “let’s just go do shit and figure shit out as we now is where things start to changego” type business person assuming I was surrounded with enough good smart talented people that we ran little risk of not figuring shit out.

 

That said.

 

I didn’t always sprint out of the blocks … I was also willing to crawl.  All I cared about was getting started. I wish we taught that attitude more often.

 

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Written by Bruce