Every idea has another side of the coin. Do you know any ‘coin flippers’?
“Let’s take the dog for a walk. ”
“We can’t , my mom might call.”
“Let’s try this new product, it might reach more people than we have now.”
“But it could bomb.”
“Let’s start working out more. ”
“But we might be taking time away from more important things. ”
To every idea ever proposed in the history of the world there is another side of the coin. The fact that there is one doesn’t automatically negate the original idea. Sometimes the coin flip reaction is illogical, sometimes it contains guidance- helps establish a line that could be crossed, or a test of effectiveness, and sometimes it’s just fear of failure.
When this happens, ask why. Try the ‘why five times’ thing. Ask questions. Now that I notice ‘the coin flip’ it irritates the heck out of me. I’ve thought about whatever idea it is for days, planned it out and in five seconds someone says “well you might…” etc. The emotional reaction isn’t effective. Ask people questions to justify their position. It will help you clarify your own and just maybe help people see that their gut reaction is based on something other than the facts of the matter.
Seth Godin has a phrase that goes something like, “My job is to attempt things that might fail.” If the other side of the coin is failure, you’re on the right track.
One of the most awesome parts about being a maker is instant feedback. When I sand a neck, it has scratches or it doesn’t. When the guitar is set up, it buzzes or it doesn’t. It’s not arbitrary, someone else’s judgement call, and I don’t have to wait to find out. I do something and I know how I did- instantly.
I also love systems. If there isn’t a system in place for keeping track of finances, keeping track of orders in regards to price increases, I can’t learn anything. Then I’m dependent on happening to notice things, and then happening to remember. The system doesn’t have to be right or perfect, in fact when its not its precisely how you learn. I’m a maker but I’m also an owner and as such I find myself running from shiny thing to shiny thing. Take this morning, I was making a neck blank but then remembered I didn’t get an order of switches. Back to the computer, on and on. I wasn’t following the system I have in place of making stuff first and doing computer stuff at the end of the day. The system works.
Are there ways we can make systems to provide instant feedback for other parts of our lives and businesses? How many times do we just show up and wing up and keep making the same mistakes, or don’t learn anything but just blindly directing our effort? There’s so much waste involved. I heard from a friend of mine that used to work in process engineering that if you switch tasks it takes about 12 minutes to get up to speed. How much switching/relearning/not noticing do we do? Don’t expect yourself not to switch, or to notice more. Make a system. Then learn.