It’s About What We Do
You’ve probably seen some version of the cartoon.
Two characters in front of a complex flowchart or process map drawn on a whiteboard. The steps on the chart are numerous, many run in parallel, all interlinked and codependent in some way. There’s no clear path to the end until, a single process step with the miracle action we’ve been waiting for:
“And Then A Miracle Occurs”
And just like that, we’re there. We hit our goal, reached our destination.
It’s a joke, of course, because no serious business professional would ever draw something like that (and hope to get away with it).
But the truth is, we draw charts like these all the time. Every time we take on something special, something difficult, it involves a level of complexity we’ve never encountered before. There will be problems we’ve never dealt with and curveballs that we absolutely would not have expected.
So we take on a level of risk with that special initiative that requires us to chart a path that involves a good level of mystery as to how we’re going to get it done. That’s OK and really, that shouldn’t stop us from taking it on. That’s why these projects, these businesses are special.
The problem isn’t the uncertainty, it’s not thinking through what the potential options are, what the potential pathways could be.
The problem is when you just expect these things to figure themselves out, or for someone else to solve them for you.
That isn’t how it works. The truth is, a miracle never occurs. You either figure it out or you don’t. You either make it happen or you don’t. There’s no middle ground, there’s no magic bullet.
We might need more than one route. We might need multiple attempts. We might need more partners along the journey than we expected. We might need more resources. (We might even need fewer, in order to spur some creativity and urgency.) We might just need some good old fashioned planning and plain, hard work. We might need all of the above.
The point, is embarking on a journey or expecting to get to the end via a miracle is never a good idea. At the end of the day, it’s down to us, how we think about it and, most importantly, what we actually then do.