Oct 01 2015

I’ve had a few discussions recently regarding the need to visualise something if we know/are aware of the status, especially for short-term events. Why write it on a white board just in case somebody pops by and is interested? What benefit do we get from writing it down “in public”?

On the face of it, this may be a logical question. However, one of the underlying purposes of visualising status & more importantly the actions in place to correct a less than ideal status is to create commitment, from us to our colleagues & to ourselves. This creates an internal tension for us to deliver – to focus on completing the actions on time. Nobody likes to be seen as someone who fails to deliver. Maybe this is why so many are so reluctant to commit – no commitment means I never have to fail!

There’s a psychological element to this that goes way beyond me – not that I am immune – I too would prefer to keep my deliverables unknown – that way nobody will ever know if I’ve succeeded or not. We can have that internal debate & give ourselves numerous justifications for not achieving – but when we publicly commit by visualising our actions, and the deliverables – we remove our ability to justify/dismiss failures so easily.

Sure – there will be times where we don’t achieve the expected outcome – we’ll have to live with others knowing we “failed” but we’ll learn from the experience. We can either learn to resist commitment – in which case we will rarely improve and in most cases our performance will gradually erode. Or we can learn to get better at estimating and foreseeing obstacles and at dealing with them as they arise.

It’s up to you – commit – do it publicly and be a leader or hide from responsibility, keep everything in your head so it is only you that knows when  you’ve failed…if you choose that latter – don’t fool yourself by thinking others won’t see it – they probably see it more than you do!

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