The Dazzling Possibilities of a Blank Sheet
All You Want for Christmas Is…
With less than 3 weeks to go before Christmas arrives (or impacts as a friend refers to it) many people are focused on finishing up what they need to for the year and getting ready for the rush to the holiday season. Hopefully the Christmas pressies are all bought, possibly wrapped and the work Christmas party is ready to go off without a hitch, so everything is done. Except perhaps the one thing that you really do want for Christmas, you just don't know you want it but you do need it. Its that blank sheet of paper we mentioned at the start and it'll be the best Christmas pressie you ever got, well maybe not ever, especially if you got a James Bond Scalextric racing set as a 7 year old but after that, it's the best pressie you will get, here's why.
A Fresh Start
With your dazzlingly white blank bit of paper you can grab your favourite beverage, sit back and think for a bit, fold the paper into 3 strips. What if you were starting again, from the very beginning, what would it look like to you, how would things work, what things would you have in place, who would you have around, who would you not?! Think of that trusted old phrase, if I knew then what I know now.. well guess what, you do and so this is your chance.
Take this time and think about the design of the organisation that you want, that you think would work, what are the new rules or way of working that you would implement and where would you start? Here's a hint, start at the end and work backwards.
In the very top section of your paper do this, write down a really vivid description of your organisation and all the great things that work now. How does it feel, what does it value, how does it live those values? Paint the picture that you have in your head in a way that would make you long to have that set up as an organisation, think of the team that you have in this picture and how they work together, how the challenge each other every day, arguing the heck out of things then going for a coffee and laughing about the crazy thin they did at the weekend. Think about how you measure the success of this new organisation, think about how you communicate and how you follow through with high levels of accountability. Its starting to sound like a compelling place you'd like to work in with a team that really understand it and you want to be part of about now isn't it?
Taking New Steps
Now you have your picture, think about the steps that you needed to take to get here. What changes did you make to the organisation that led you to this great result? What people did you get on board, who did you grow and who did you have to let go because you knew they wouldn't take the steps with you?
Think about the processes that you had to put in place or that you had to remove, what where they and what was it about them that created the change? Where there investments you made in things, people, places, technology that moved you on, did you introduce a new philosophy or way or working, lean perhaps? What steps did you take for these things to happen and how did they impact the business?
All this thinking goes into the second section of your former blank bit of paper, probably in the form of bullet points since this is really a list of steps you can take to realise your ideal business that you wrote at the top of the paper.
Removing the Barriers
In the final part of the paper have a think about all the things that could block you from taking these bold new steps that you have listed. Write them on the left-hand side of the paper, on the right-hand side write down what you think you could do to overcome those barriers. It's important to be honest but in some cases brutal as well, don't let one of these things derail the whole outcome that you want to achieve.
Think of the Dazzling Possibilities
It's time to review what you have done, start at the top of the page and read down the page thinking about each section in turn, what it really turns into is this: To get A FRESH START we're going to be TAKING NEW STEPS and we'll do that by REMOVING THE BARRIERS that are in our way.
Guess what, you have a plan, that blank bit of paper has turned into the dazzling possibility of you transforming your organisation into something more, somewhere that you want to be that others will want to be as well. You know the end result you want, that's the direction, you have a picture you can share with others to inspire them to join you on that journey and you have the steps you are going to take on that journey with them. You know it's going to be hard and you know some (never all!) of the things that will get in the way, but you have some ideas on how to overcome them.
By now you will have noticed a few things, one that beverage that you brought along with you is gone and needs to be refilled, secondly you are just a little excited about your new plan for your organisation and finally that you can put all this to the side and go relax over your Christmas break knowing that when you need to return you have everything you need for a fresh start, all thanks to that once blank piece of paper.
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