To Ponder: Lighting Up The Great Depths
I’m fascinated by the great unknowns of our Earth. One such area is the abyssal zone of our oceans, that is, those depths of the ocean that are 4km+ below. This is a grim and difficult area to live, and yet, many creatures do.
Among other difficulties down there (heat, pressure) - there is no ambient light. It’s complete, perpetual darkness. This darkness has led the creatures down there to develop a crucial trait: Bioluminescence.
Any guesses what they use it for?
Naturally, as we humans rely on our eyesight to interact with the world, it’s easy to assume that the best use of this bioluminescence would be to see and find food in that darkness.
…And it’s exactly that kind of thinking that would get you eaten.
So, if you guessed ‘to see’ earlier, then I challenge you to have a second go. How else would you use bioluminescence in the great depths of the oceans?
I won’t keep you in suspense - the 2 best and primary uses of light in the abyssal zone are:
As Bait - to attract your food.
As Protection - to distract others so you don’t become food.
And that’s the thing. It’s so natural for us to get caught in our own rhythms, thought patterns, and internal bias. Breaking outside of our own perspectives is so easy to talk about - yet so hard to actually do.
The good news is that there are a number of strategies to counter these ‘fast-thoughts’. Strategies like the one we just employed - i.e. have a second go. Thinking twice forces our brains to stop, take a moment and tackle the question from a new perspective.
As change leaders we so often venture into an unknown future (and ask others to join us!) But it’s so easy to get caught up in the business and distraction of the change itself and lose track of the true value - that is, the value to others.
How many perspectives are you considering?
To Action: Easy Decisions
Valuable Decision Making is one of the most important elements of driving Valuable Change. Courage (or cowardice) when making decisions will make or break your change success.
Let’s do a little mental exercise. Bring into your mind a project or program that you may have worked on, led, or merely spectated that meets one or more of the following criteria:
It never ended,
It caused more pain than gain,
It didn’t solve the original problem or meet the original need,
It regularly surprised its stakeholders,
It was filled with ‘last minute scrambles’, or
It had no way of proving success (although it may well have claimed it was ‘successful’).
Got a project in mind? Great.
Now reflect on the way decisions were made in that project. Would you say that the decisions were cowardly or courageous?
Here’s a few hints:
Were decisions deferred until the last minute?
Were decisions made as knee-jerk reactions?
Were decision makers sufficiently across the issues, or was it closer to shooting in the dark?
So, what makes a decision courageous?
As always with me, it’s simple: ‘A courageous decision is one that chooses the harder right over the easier (or even harder) wrong.’
Unfortunately, we aren’t operating in a comic book universe. Saying ‘choose the right’ would be foolishly naïve. Reality, especially when changing organisations, is filled with shades of grey. These shades of grey often leave us in difficult spots – which logically brings us to the real question here:
‘How do we ensure we make the best decision?’
The answer is simple: Make it as easy as possible.
There are two key elements to making great decisions.
Data and Emotion.
Are you deciding with enough of either?
You PMO Folk Love To Listen
After the amazing reception last week to the release of #ValuableChange, it seems that it’s time for the Audiobook version of Creating High Value PMOs to shine. After spending all of last week in the top 10, as I type this it’s made it way to the #1 and #2 spots of the Corporate Governance and Project Management New Release charts.
The book is the result of my journey digging up the skeletons, airing out the tombs, outrunning the boulders & uncovering the common cause of PMO death. I propose it's time for something different: Truly Valuable PMOs. The book is wonderfully brought to life in the audiobook version by the very talented and entertaining Oliver Thompson.
This is what one reader had to say about it:
“Not your usual dry and boring PMO guidebook. The words fly off the page and Baker’s easy humour makes this an engaging read. Don’t be mistaken though, the content is spot on. If you want your PMO to succeed, or if you need to refresh it, start by reading this book.”
- Valdi Gravitis, Founder, NSW Whole of Gov. PMO Community of Practice
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Have a fabulous weekend. See you next week.