BL&T No. 082: Getting in the Reps

Personal Growth

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“[The Picking team] spent much of their first nine months systematically identifying and removing dependencies from upstream areas, like receiving inventory from vendors, and downstream areas, like packing and shipping. They also built systems to track every important event that happened in their area at a detailed, real-time level. Their business results didn’t improve much while they did so, but once they had removed dependencies, built their fitness function, and instrumented their systems, they became a strong example of how fast [a] team could innovate and deliver results. ...

Good examples like the Picking team demonstrated how long-term thinking, in the form of their up-front investments, generated compound returns over time. Later teams followed their lead. Sometimes it’s best to start slow in order to move fast.”

From “Working Backwards” by Colin Bryar, Bill Carr [Book]


Outside the action of client work, many of my efforts these days feel like a coach designing a workout. Instead of burpees and ball slams, it's opportunities to bring the team together, expand perspectives, and strengthen collaboration as we evolve the way we work.

Like strength training, that 400 lb. deadlift doesn't happen overnight. However, getting the reps in feels slow when we're craving results.

Rather than jump right to solutions, my goal is to help the team find the same rhythm, so we're all contributing to change, and no one person is pressing it upon the other. I see value in slowing us down to discover answers together while at the same time being the force to make decisions efficiently.

While I'm confident that the time spent now will allow us to move faster later, I know everyone needs to see where we're going.

At this point, it's as if we're heading down the runway, but before the wheels leave the pavement, I need to share the desired route and checkpoints. No matter how it feels like we're pacing, there's nothing more motivating than knowing how close you are to the next milestone. I'm eager to dig into this more this week.

Here's a taste of last week's progress.

Thought Starter

Where might slowing down help me move faster?

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