Burning Platforms

From the Ask Tom mailbag –

I attended your Time Span workshop. So now I am curious, this clearly resonated. But where do we start?

Why? at the beginning, of course.

There are a number of simple things you can do, as a manager. But, I think, first, is to determine why you would do them. In the workshop, we started with an organizational analysis, to surface the challenges your company has faced, getting to where it is today. And then, to look forward, to understand what changes you will face taking your company to the next level.

In most cases, those challenges are predictable, depending on what stage your organization is moving through. But you have to write them down, with some detail.

This is where I start.

What are the burning platforms, the hot spots? Where do things seem to be stuck? What has to change? Where are the growing pains?

Only when you identify these changes, only when you identify the pain, will you understand the necessity of the solution. This is where I start.

This starting place is obvious, you and your management team already know this pain. You have likely discussed it, in meetings and in the hallway. So, write it down. Fishbone out the details. Don’t try to solve the pain, yet. Just document it.

Slow down.

Don’t jump to conclusions about solutions, because you, now, have this new lens, this new framework to look at these challenges. Before the workshop, you thought you had a personality conflict or a breakdown in communication. Most often, those turn out to be a misalignment in organizational structure.

Reframe your challenges, now, in the light of Time Span. This is where I start.

2 thoughts on “Burning Platforms

  1. Michael Cardus

    I have been wondering if the company and everyone already knows about the problems, why haven’t they taken action yet? Is is a need to keep the status-quo, a fear that someone might be embarrassed.
    Why do smart people continue to act in ways that only reinforce things they don’t want to happen?

    1. Tom Foster

      Organizational habits are as difficult to change as personal habits. Especially under pressure, most people (organizations) return to old behaviors even when they have proven unsuccessful in the past.


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