Is that a Satellite 🛰️ or a GPS 📡 ?
A protocol for aligning your decision making, getting to the signal and cutting out noise.
I have a bias towards ACTION. Doing stuff. Rolling up my sleeves and getting on with it. I don’t like going in circles. Who does?
My parents and grandparents instilled that Maltese🇲🇹/Salvadoran🇸🇻/Western Sydney💪 migrant worker mentality into me.
My career has spanned lots of areas of technology and services. From washing trucks and pushing trolley’s at IKEA, to support desk, pre-sales, consulting, training, QA, engineering at Borland then back to training and consulting at CustomWare (now ServiceRocket).
In all my roles, in meetings or conversations, I would try as quickly as possible to work out “OK, so what do we need to do? and how do we do it as best as we can?”
Those that know me might say I’m a little impatient.
So building a company and then over time learning how to lead leaders, how to run meetings and get to the "actionable list” and decisions is something that I really used to suck at.
The age old advice of “hire smart people and let them do their job” works well, when you are clear with what they need to do and you can hold them accountable. That’s not easy and accountability is the topic for another post. These folks are experts in asking questions that can cause confusion, can delay decisions and buy more time.
So how do you a bunch of smart people in a room that are all proud of their careers, all have their own experiences, motives, goals and biases and getting to an agreed action list in a short amount of time is impossible. On top of that, how do you get them to be humble enough to take in perspectives from others in other teams or different levels of the organization?
It can feel like your trying to row a boat 🛶 in a choppy ocean with lots of swell and waves 🌊 pushing you in many directions. Where do you go?
It took me many years, but I have a good protocol with a nice signature metaphor to go with it. So you can drum it into your culture.
The goals of my methods are here:
Firstly: be aware of the trap of logical fallacies - HubSpot has a great reference of these and there’s lots on the web. In fact all leaders should be really aware of these at all times!
Ensure that everyone can quickly give their input - ensuring voices are heard is critical for buy-in, so you don’t want to cut folks out.
Ensure that that input is clear and concise. We don’t have time for long talks or big words.
Ensure that the input can scale - e.g. If you run 60-80 projects in your portfolio, you can’t look at them all one by one.
Be able to add more inputs and perspectives to the model, so that it gets smarter as you grow.
So here it is…. 🥁
The Satellite 🛰️ and GPS model 📡
So, again we look to nature (ok, “digital native” nature!), we all use maps. Maps need a lock on several satellites in order to co-ordinate a location. Turn all of the inputs that have energy into Satellites.
And, Key Point: A single Satellite can’t give you an answer. You need 3 to make a GPS.
Asking your team to get 3 Satellites starts to force collaboration and alignment in seeking out the truth vs campaigning about which Satellite is more accurate. You need three.
Here are the key phrases:
“Is that a Satellite?”
“Can we get a Satellite showing that?”
“What does your Satellite show?”
So each person that wants to bring in data or perspectives is sharing from their point of view. They are sharing what their satellite shows.
Once you end up with many Satellites, that’s awesome. Combine them all to get a GPS, that will, more often than not, give you the insight you need to add that next, clear actionable item on the list.
You can then start to build them into your reporting, such as this example below:
Not only that, every team member that contributed will have buy-in as they can see their contribution to the GPS via their Satellite.
Then you can go and tick that sucker off the list! ✅