Friday, November 20, 2009

The Hidden Side of Success

Just wrapping up the next phase of who-knows-how-many-phases-it-will-take conference calls with my publisher exploring the many steps of the process in getting a book actually published. Seems vaguely familiar to most transformation efforts I've led over the years.

At first, you walk into the brand new (to you) situation and get hit with a tidal wave of new information. Despite years of wide-ranging experience, it's not what you know that causes potential problems. It's that you don't know what you don't know.

Of course, knowing that gives you an advantage.

The key to success is to explore what is, at that moment, hidden to you. Data. Information. Relationships. Opinions. Perspectives. Blind spots. Misunderstandings. Assumptions. Hidden agendas. Ego. Fears. Untapped potential. Hope. Courage. Heroism.

There are always clues - and solutions - hidden inside the organization. The secret is rooting it out. To do this, you need to actively go to where the answer hide. Almost always where the employees and customers meet.There are two rules when exploring these uncharted territories: 1. Follow the money (the measurement of value), 2. Follow the time (the measurement of priority) and 3. Follow the customer (external and internal - employee) experience (the measurement of relevance).

Secrets never are discovered in an office - only out where real life happens.

So, my goal for learning this publishing process is to, at every step, keep my ears and eyes open to everything that is happening. Ask questions and listen/learn. Expect to be surprised - and to uncover unknown challenges. Keep the big picture in mind, and have the courage and tenacity to keep climbing that mountain.

Eventually, the view gets clearer...and the air gets cleaner......and the goal is achieved.

What challenge are you facing right now? Are you really following the clues or your predetermined expectations?

Think about it. But more importantly, do something about!