This Focused Performance Weblog started life as a "business management blog" containing links and commentary related primarily to organizational effectiveness with a "Theory of Constraints" perspective, but is in the process of evolving towards primary content on interactive and mobile marketing. Think of it as about Focusing marketing messages for enhanced Performance. If you are on an archive page, current postings are found here.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Rule #1: Don't Let Go -- Nine life lessons from rock climbing...
Optimism is the Disease -- Sometimes I worry that, when in brainstorming sessions, I'm not able to keep my mouth shut regarding concerns or obstacles associated with the ideas that come up. Fortunately, I think I know how to express them without sounding like a nay-sayer, and anyhow, if I'm going to be involved in the implementation of these ideas as a project manager, prudent risk management requires such feedback. From Herding Cats: Why We Need Professional Project Managers:
"Optimism is the disease, feedback is the cure..." is a Kent Beck quote."
Some time ago, I wrote about something similar to this in one of the earliest columns in my Unconstrained Thinking series. Back then, I pointed out that people are great at being negative. We are always willing to talk about our problems -- we love to "bitch and moan." If someone offers a solution, it's real easy to point out what's wrong with it -- unintended side-effects that the solution creates or why it won't really accomplish its objective. And once we've agreed that something might be a good idea, most of what goes through our minds is why we can't make it happen -- obstacles and hurdles. As I wrote in the old piece...
Have you ever been in a brainstorming session in which the facilitator was one of those "cheerful Charlies" who tell the group that it's against the rules to say anything negative about an idea? How many rounds of ideas went by before you were biting your lip?
The point is that our problem solving processes should not rely on unnatural positivism, but rather on what people have demonstrated as a common core competency -- the ability to throw wet blankets.
Along these lines, sometimes the source of calm is knowing that "strategic quitting", like that discussed in The Dip, from Seth Godin. Being able to discern the difference between a "dip" and a "dead end", and act appropriately, can be a source of calm.
For example, from my project of preparing for a comfortable retirement, the stock market this year has been kind to those that have "bought the dips" on the way up, although, on the other hand, "bailing out" with profits in hand can be not only prudent, but profitable as well.