Category : Project Management
The "Save" Icon
The other day, after speaking on a panel for Chick-Tech, I realized that I was, by at least a decade, the oldest person in the room. That meant it was also highly likely that I was also the only person in the room who had actively used a tool that every single person in that room sees every day.
A 3.5 inch floppy – or, as many will more likely recognize in graphic form, the ‘Save’ icon.
It reminded me of a time when my step-daughter asked me “what exactly does ‘cc’ mean?”
When I replied that it stood for “carbon copy”, she said that she had always wondered, did we really make carbon copies of things? How, exactly did that work?
That conversation happened years ago – possibly even decades ago.
And remembering that, coupled with the flash of realization the other night, caused me to ask myself an important question – one that we don’t always think to ask ourselves (me included!):
”Are you sure that everyone you are working with understands the same way that you do and why?”
“Why are you sure?”
“Why do you think they see the situation/issue/question the same way that you do?”
Which engenders the question,
“How did you confirm that understanding?”
The odd thing about a meritocracy: building one doesn’t guarantee that the team – or the company – will succeed. The people who have the maddest technical skills may not be the best at working in a team environment. The person with the best interpersonal skills may not be able to bridge the gap in a spot crisis when solid (possibly even amazing!) technical skills are needed.
We are not suggesting that implementing Clear Definition, combined with Ownership and Collaborative Spirit, will remove these problems.
We are suggesting that these three Key Success Parameters will give you a stronger shot at addressing these problems with less stress on the leadership team, the project team, and lastly – but not least – you.
KSP Tip for High Performance: Model the behavior that shows that you do not take common context for granted. Ask for paraphrased loop-back periodically during discussions with your team members. Encourage and support when they do the same. If you‘re asked, feel free to blame it on me (‘that darned consultant wants us to try this!’). Or, alternatively, you can tell them the story of the ‘Save’ icon and ask:
“How many of you have actually used one of these ‘floppy’ disks?”