My WHAT is the HOW.
(or: The result of my work is a better the approach to the optimal solution – whatever challenge is to be addressed)
My name is Harald Dietrich. I am an engineer and I am working in the software industry for many years now. Nowadays I take care for people – developers, team leaders, but even many more employees involved in running a successful business. I try to be a servant leader, who works with the people. Decisions are taken with the people and not for the people. Thereby, my profession has become coaching and mentoring rather than engineering.
WHY? Because I believe that there is much more power in the way things are achieved than most of us realize. We have the tendency to put the main focus on what needs to be done. But the real power comes from finding optimal approaches how objectives can be accomplished using all existing means. It is the CAN do, and not the MUST do, which takes us on. We underestimate the power of investigating the right way forward – all together!
Opportunity comes with option.
Go for the first best solution and your result will sacrifice the specification. But, does it really meet the need? You can do better! Sorry, we can – it’s a collective exercise.
Look at colleagues. Inspect yourself. Do you unleash all the power of the people around you by doing right things and by doing the things in the right way?
Raise a challenge and collect a whole bunch of ideas. Be open and you will see the options from the ideas. Now, test run, measure, and find out which works best; and HOW it works best. Following this approach, the satisfaction with your solution will raise – for sure! And so the value does.
Diversity outrules specialists. Teams outrule individuals.
Involve as many people as possible in developing options. Be disruptive. Bring people on the topic, which might have never worked on it before. Let people talk, dare to listen, and try to understand, and ideas will flourish.
Still, avoid the tendency of overthinking, the same as we avoid the tendency to overdoing. What can be done to find the sweet spot? What makes us believe we have made best use of our opportunities to cover the needs?
Balancing possibilities with needs is where the HOW becomes a WHAT. What is it that needs to be done to emphasize the how?
The WHAT in the HOW provides the safety to everyone to work on opportunities while safeguarding the performance of the organization. A fragile, but worthwhile balance.
Safety and performance vs. clarity and delivery.
Personally, I want to get there by drawing a clear line between performance and delivery to enable clarity and safety. I am doing so because 50/50 approaches never work. You need to put focus on something if you want to do it right.
A clear line gives the chance to negotiate approaches. I can own the WHAT or the HOW, but never both. By then, safety and delivery become complementory, but never substitutable. Performance and clarity are an companions, where I always have to find a way, which works for both.
The way things are done can lift the value dramatically. They even can change the purpose. It is the same as a changing purpose can change the way things are done. A wish for an optimal, balanced solution is fuel for these negotiations.
To become better, we need to get the balance right. And we need much more people who can say: My WHAT is the HOW.
Title: Photo by Caitlyn Hastings