The Simplest Things
My process for writing is quite often one that is saturated in procrastination, underscored by a sporadic downpour of investigative research (or so I tell myself) and dignified by a self-justified, deliberate, thought provoking, conscious stream of internal prose over many weeks. Its why I often take what seems an eternity to put pen to paper. But it’s a process that works for me.
Taking one’s time, also provides the opportunity to survey the landscape and deeply inhale the abundant content that the internet has to offer on my subject of choice, for any given month, allowing me sufficient time to digest and develop a personal thesis on the matter at hand.
For weeks on end, my inbox is littered with links to self perpetuated articles entitled “news room” so I can quickly catalogue and review at a later date, at a time and place that my busy work-family-life dictates.
And when I eventually do put virtual pen to paper, that delayed gratification of writing, has simmered to a point where the words seemingly explode from within and pages are written effortlessly. That delay is also why I am so excited to write about the belated content choices that that bubbled to the top, when the time was right.
Case in point, not so recently (ha!) I came across a great article from the very adept leader of leaders, Simon Sinek, who I have closely followed for several years now.
For those of you who aren’t across Sinek’s work, I invite you to check out his very famous, very astute, September 2009 Ted Talk “How great leaders inspire action”. At the time, ground-breaking and today, the foundation upon which many a budding CMO have built their enterprise marketing strategy.
Upon stumbling across his work a few years back, I was instantly drawn to Simon’s analytical views on the tech industry, accentuated by his extensive experience in marketing, which combined to provide the modern day playbook for “how to get it done”, in today’s uber technological world.
So when my Google news feed turned up Sinek’s more recent piece on “Why tech is not always the solution”, well of course, I indulged. And while I always try to critique each media commentator through an objective lens, with regards to this piece, it was very difficult to disagree with Sinek’s point of view.
As I sat and stared vacantly at my local barista, while I waited for my late (yes, a plain old normal full cream late!) I listened to what Sinek had to say about designing and implementing a solution that is fit for purpose. As the man with no more qualification to be a technology commentator than the Artiste d’Java working delicately across the bar from me recanted how a global organisation solved a multimillion dollar problem, for the price of the main meal on the menu in front of me — I laughed anxiously to myself.
For I am in tech and I am qualified to provide recommendations on enterprise and solution architecture and yet, the simplest solution, in this instance, was apparently, the most effective. It had me nervously intrigued.
Although, I can’t quite see myself presenting to a board with a one page slide deck that contains a picture of a Lucite board with bunch colourful folders pinned to it, as per the outcome of Sinek’s video snippet.
OK, so Sinek’s (and my) explanation may be an over simplification, however it aligns very closely with the mantra that we purport at Wrive — that every solution design, starts with a conversation. For the manufacturing company featured in Sinek’s talk would’ve save millions of dollars and countless man hours, had they asked their frontline workers what they needed, rather than what a tech company told them they needed.
And what’s more, ensuring one takes an agile approach to design, validates the time honoured apple cart that Sinek was pushing — Sometimes the simplest solutions, are the most effective.
Throughout our customer engagements over the years, there have been many occasions where we have broken rank and stepped away from the solution design flow during an internal discovery workshop, to pause. To step outside the typical constraints and (to take a line from Sinek’s 2009 masterclass), “challenge the status quo”. Ensuring we ask the question, is this helping us to advance our aligned vision, to achieve our common goals?
Recently I received an email from a client that opened as such;
“Paul, I appreciate you putting what’s best for our business top of mind…”
As a technology solution provider and someone that measures themselves on the quality of the relationships they build, there is no better gratification than hearing such words. If there was anything you wanted to receive from your clients, its validation that you are on the same page, aligned to the same shared goals.
My goal, is to help the company I work for, improve the lives of the people in its ecosystem. Our customers, our partners, our team and beyond.
And more often than not, asking the right questions, ensures the outcomes you deliver, are indeed, fit for everyone’s purpose.