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Here’s a brief idea from me, and a few content recommendations that have the potential to shift your thinking in a significant way.
IDEA FROM ME:
If you’re super busy, but feel like you can’t pin down where you’re having an impact – you’re probably more focused on symptoms than root causes.
At work, I try to be clear about the few big things I want to spend most of my energy on. For example, right now I'm working on long-term strategy, an organisational health project and hiring some critical leadership roles. These are the things I believe will make a big impact and create transformational change.
Everything else is noise. Sure, I have my share of smaller things I need to get done too, but I think about them very differently. They’re just things I have to get done. They’re not going to create transformational change (even as a sum of things). I rarely get lost in them.
Another good example. You see a team making many obvious mistakes. It’s tempting to jump in and suggest new processes and ways of working. But, there's usually a bigger, root cause reason for why those obvious mistakes are being made.
Perhaps the team has an unrealistic workload that’s causing them to make those mistakes? Perhaps they have capability gaps that mean they simply don’t know how to do some of the work in the right way? But, even these things might not be the true root cause. Why do these types of things usually happen? You’ll often find there are some issues with the leadership of the team. But, you can even go a level up from there. I’ve seen some well led teams failing because the leadership of the company has put them in an environment that they can’t be successful in. See what I mean?
The further you go up the chain and try to work out the root cause, the more painful the decision is to solve it. And that’s why it’s so easy to stay at the ground level and tinker with fixing symptoms. It's a comfortable space to operate in. But it won’t get you anywhere – you’ll just go round in circles.
And you know the great thing about being a root cause thinker? You find yourself with less things to work on and you have a much bigger impact. I truly believe it's one of the reasons I’m able to work a four day week, have a good work / life balance and still have a big impact on a quarterly basis. I don’t measure my worth by how busy I am. I’m not fussed with symptoms. I’m focused only on the few things that will make the difference.
I'm never quite sure how to offer advice on how to be a root cause thinker. That's why I chose to share some examples. From there, it's really a combination of having better awareness and getting into the habit of taking a pause and asking better questions.
This is a great, short listen. I often find it hard to articulate why I dislike goals and prefer instead to focus on the type of person I want to be and my habits. Ben Bergeron nails it in this episode.
I'm re-reading this book because I want to give up alcohol. I first heard about it here and was super intrigued. But, it didn't have the same impact on me. I've continued to try and find ways to set boundaries with alcohol (which never stick). So, I'm re-reading it again and I think it's sinking in more.
It has an interesting approach. It discourages trying to attack it will willpower and instead reframes how we think about alcohol – to remove the desire.
The reason I thought it was worth a share it is many people rave about how effective the book is. You read it, you easily quit. So, it clearly works for some people. I'll keep you updated ;-)