Considering the last weeks, a question made turns around my head: how do you install your toilet paper rolls? With the paper passing on top or underneath the roll?
This is a serious question! When I asked my colleagues in the coffee break about their opinion on this matter, the team split into two antagonist camps.
There are other dividing strategies: there are those who wake up early, and the others (like me). Or those who religiously follow manual instructions and those with too much self-confidence.
In the same vein, we have those who plan, and those who never plan. I don’t plan, because I use my System D.
You can build your System D to manage and lead a project, by using the following three stages and one secret ingredient.
What are these three stages?
How to use these stages to prepare your own System D?
Pay attention AKA Observe
That’s what I did the last 4th of April, at the French Division A Toastmasters contest. It was a special meeting, as they used video-conferencing due to the ongoing health crisis.
I was in the audience, watching and cheering the contestants, but also observing:
- How do we organize an online meeting with 130 participants?
- How do we split the online audience into groups?
- How do we invite people to pass from one break room to another?
Observing this unexpected situation will serve me later, in another context, because it allows me to prepare.
Prepare the next step
When should a writer start a new novel? Steven Pressfield (“War of Art”) thinks the best moment is right after finishing the latest one. Instead of waiting while promoting your latest project, the best is to start the next one right away.
What does it mean to prepare for me and you?
Well, before stopping in the evening we can write down the next step to do, on paper, in a document, or even in the code (for developers). The word editor opened full screen, with unsaved changes, will be there in the morning to help us continue from where we stopped.
Preparation is a crucial step in any System D because it is the tool allowing us to adapt, which is the third step.
Adapt to new circumstances
We are a family of 6 and often we have guests. Last three months alone a few families came over to visit, some staying 3-4 days, some even 2 weeks. It can seem quite a lot to handle for an unprepared “team”.
However, we have a system which allows us to host up to 4 guests:
- We have observed that families with babies prefer to have them in the same room at night, so we often let them have our bedroom.
- We prepare all the beds, sheets, and towels for our next guests right after a family leaves, without waiting.
- We adapt if needed, for example, our kids sometimes sleepover at their friends if we need more beds.
But still, we need to plan our projects!
The System D cannot solve everything. Any project has its own objectives, resources, milestones, etc. But, as the map is not the territory, the plan is not the reality, only a projection made at some point.
Between start and finish, the System D allows you to maintain your project course. You need to observe events that impact the project, prepare for them, and adapt to advance and be able to succeed.
The System D creates your team’s resilience
The three stages applied again and again by a team, create a movement resembling a flywheel’s, as Jim Collins remarks in “Good to Great”. The movement of this flywheel depends on every member pushing forward. And here comes the secret ingredient.
The flywheel can slow down or lose direction. Be the one creating the rhythm of your team, the hub connecting different groups and topics important for the business. Guide each part to make the whole turn in the best possible cadence. Look forward and make sure the team keeps the direction defined by the business needs. And use the System D to adjust.
The inventor of the toilet paper roll was planning to install them with the paper passing over the roll. Seth Wheeler even described the proper method in the patent. But, when you and I guests, and the host has passed the paper under the roll, too bad! We adapt and move on 🙂