21 – How do you Align the Forces for Good?
In this episode: Okay, so you have a project, and you’re ready to get going. But, how do you know if you’re solving for the right thing? Putting energy into the ‘right’ challenge vs the first one you see = bigger impact + saving energy, time and money. You create real growth, instead of spinning your wheels and making itty bitty change.
I talk about and cover how to: Avoid the pitfalls of rushing to solutions to save energy, time and money How to get to the heart of the problem How to get everyone one on the same page and crystal clear so that you’re all running with force in one direction!
If you love this and want to know more go to: https://www.hihellosura.com/unleashyourcreativity
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*This Transcript is Autogenerated
Hello, and welcome to the hi. Hello, Sura Show I am your host, Sura Al-Naimi . And I'm just so thrilled and just so honored that you're here every time that you show up and you provide the feedback that you provide, it just makes me so excited to share more in the future. So thank you so much now, today, I really wanted to focus on this area of getting everybody on the same page.
So often I speak with individuals and there's a massive struggle, not so much in having the ideas, but actually deciding what the challenge is about and what it should be about what the opportunity is about versus what is originally given to us. And so today I really wanted to spend a bit of time unpacking how we can actually do that within our teams and in our organizations and how powerful that can be.
It's the push pause in order to fast forward with any of our projects and any of our initiatives. And, it's very dear to my heart. We call it aligning the forces for good. So it's a little bit of a superhero theme, but today I want to give you a four top tips on how to make sure that you're aligning your falsies, that you're choosing the right challenge and that you're making it super inspiring.
And really this effort that you can put in at the beginning of projects or initiatives, or even if you're a bit farther along, actually coming back to this point in order to course correct. There was say that when a rocket goes launches there are so many like millions of micro adjustments that ended up happening to make sure that it arrives at its destination.
And so we're really spending this time right now to make sure that we are getting the right destination and that way during the project, we can do those course corrections. So my first top tip for you when you're thinking about actually I just want to hold on. I want to steady on for a moment or push pools.
And I want to just dispense a moment to share with you what I've been hearing and what I've been experiencing with clients at Disney or gap or Kaiser to share with you what happens when we don't push forward. And I know this is going to sound really familiar to you, but I wanted to spend a moment just going over it so often.
We get a project and then we we run off or we go get it done. And then maybe a month later we come back and we realized that other people have a different understanding of what this project is really about. So sometimes we're a month or a few months or however much money investment.
And we realize that one, not everybody is on the same page. And two, it's not really the challenge that we should be solving for. So often we get very disenchanted or aggravated or oh, like what was the point of all of that? And so we really want to avoid that. Or there are other times when everybody is on the same page and everything is flowing really smoothly.
And, we've done that due diligence to push pause to really assess what it is that we're supposed to be solving for. And we found out actually, you know what, we're in exactly the right place, but by doing that, we can feel assured that everybody has that understanding and we can move together a speed, so we only have to be one degree off at the beginning to be miles apart later on.
And especially when we're thinking about a big organization or actually, even a couple of people let's be honest about it. There's so many different viewpoints to be considered. It always makes me think of the, I believe it's the seven blind men or it could be sex.
You can you can do a little bit of research and let me know what you find out. But the story goes is that one of the individuals starts to describe what they are feeling and what they are touching. And so they'd say, this really, this feels like a sturdy. This feels like a tree trunk.
And then somebody else said, this actually feels very ropey it feels like a piece of rope and somebody else went on to say, this feels like a snake and so on. And and then later on, it was actually discovered that what they were all touching was an elephant that touching it from different aspects.
And so if we think about any challenge or anything that we're facing, we are all quote unquote, right? In terms of the reality that we're experiencing. But we are just seeing it from a different perspective. And each perspective is really valid, because that, all those perspectives made art the elephant.
So if you think about the challenge that you're looking to solve, and you're looking at it from the perspective of marketing operations, sales, finance, we such in development or even people who have varying degrees within the same department, bringing everything together will give us that full picture of of the elephant.
And so this is, this is why this phase is so important for any kickoff, for a project at the beginning of a project, in order to ensure that innovation actually happens. And so we really want to be going after those big opportunities versus the thing that's just handed to. And so when I think about that, four top tips to ensure that we're doing that tip number one is, as I hinted out with the elephant example, we really want to make sure that we are in fact asking a spectrum of questions, getting all the information from all the different perspectives.
And often I will have a conversation with somebody and be very enraptured by the conversation and then I will leave and then suddenly realize I've got, no information about the budget or certain constraints or success criteria. I've spent so much time talking about, what the issue is, getting some history backgrounds I might've asked who is involved.
But it's very depending on the conversation I'm having with somebody, it could be very easy for me to spend that time and not get all the information that I need. And if we're thinking about somebody, we're talking to somebody and there's just like a scarcity in terms of their availability, making sure that I'm like, okay, what are all the questions I need to know?
Okay. What is what's going on? What's the background? What do they already tried? What does success look like? What are the constraints, let's put some dreaming into that. And then we have a really well-rounded perspective and viewpoint for this challenge. So top tip number one is ask a broad spectrum of questions, so that we're really getting to the heart of what's going on top tip.
Number two is once you've got your challenge, pressure test tested is the challenge that you've been given broad enough or does it need to be narrower? So when we say broad sometimes challenges are utopian and sometimes. Solving for world peace. And that's great if actually we have the time, money and resources to do that, that sometimes we really don't.
And so what is really important at this point is to create a bunch of different options. So we have our challenge and we make it a bit broader by asking, why like why is this important? What would this be solving for? And then once we do that, we ask the question why, again, by asking why we get to make our challenge broader.
And if we ask the question how then we're actually making it narrow up, and by doing that, we're creating a buffet of options of what our challenge could be, what we could be going after. And, the original challenge that you might have might be exactly the right one. Or we might say, actually this was a little bit too narrow.
Let's take it up and watch or additionally this is a, we need to get this done in a month within these constraints and this budget, and this other piece of work is already happening over somewhere else. We should really make this narrow one. I remember reporting.
I did while I was at Disney. And we got the project challenge, which was to bring more individuals into the sales center. And once we dug around a little bit with the with the project and the target audience, we actually found out that the target audience that their appetite it was not to actually be physically somewhere.
And so with that, we've got the opportunity to make the challenge a lot broader to reimagine and to pioneer the whole marketing and sales process from start to finish. And within that, some aspects could have delivered more individuals to the sales center, but equally we would be able to reimagine the sales and marketing process in a way that would actually appeal to this audience, this particular instance, it was a millennial audience.
And so we were able to come up with a lot broader solutions, holistic solutions that are actually a lot more successful, ultimately at driving the sales that they were looking at versus just keeping it narrow, to get more people in our sales center. So that's top tip number two is pressure test, is this challenge broad enough or does it need to be now.
So now top tip number three is to also task, what's in scope and what's out of scope for products. And so often we we don't really know that some principle of something is important to us until we have something in our hands and we say, oh, no, not that I'm not sure what I wanted, but it's not actually that.
And so in this phase, it's really important to understand the principles for success for your project. And so a very easy way to do that is to come up with some ideas. That's it could be wild and fantastical or you could actually think are pretty realistic ideas for your project.
And then from that place, you could show the stakeholders and say, what about this? And the idea here is that they respond to whether it's in scope or out of scope but really focusing more on the principle of the idea first is the actual idea. So for example, if I said how about we introduce a gold toilets to the the new retail experience and the stakeholder might say, that's in scope.
And the reason that it's in scope is because, a gold toilet would create buzz and it would be unique and it would be memorable. And so the takeaway from that would be that memorable, unique, and buzz-worthy are things that are important to the stakeholder. And we can put the gold toilet to the side, unless of course, they're very adamant about that gold toilet.
So tip top tip number three is make sure that you are getting the principles for success. So that you have the guardrails or the sandpit in which you're creating with, and, this has been particularly important because for example, I worked on a project that was very focused on commissions and sales.
And one of the things that we asked was what if the revenue could be compensated in a way that you would organize tips at at the local bar, right? And the stakeholder pools and thoughts about it. And then they said, actually, yes, that's in scope because we would like to have a differentiated way of of rewarding individuals that is actually compelling.
That is fair. And that motivates everybody to be involved in the sale of this product. And so that was a real game changer for the project and to have that clarity was super important as. So now top tip number four. So you've done a lot of playing with what your challenge is and getting all the information.
But what are the places that challenges really fall short is the way that they are expressed. And so the challenges that we want is to be compelling and to be inspiring. And so we talked at number four is to actually make the challenge inspiring and to use the language that is evocative. To avoid a lot of the jargon, so often we're in an industry and we can't help ourselves by using these acronyms and things that nobody else understands, but us and that kind of makes us feel really great about it.
But when we're thinking about setting up our innovation challenge or creativity challenge at the more that we can make it accessible to people, the more human that we can make up, the more excited people are going to be to actually work on it. If you can give you a project, an exciting name that could be a covert project in just be for all of you.
Then thats you see also very exciting because it's not very exciting to work on, F Y 15 expansion project, but, it could be really exciting to welcome project rainbow, for example, and this is just for you, but imagine getting a meeting invite from project rainbow, I'd be pretty excited to go to that meeting.
So these are the four tips. Let me just remind you. So the first one is to ask the spectrum of questions. The second one is to pressure test. If the, if what you're, the challenges is too broad or too narrow, the third one is to define scope, where are you playing for this project? And and the fourth one is to to make sure that your challenge is expressed in a really inspiring.
So this is the really the fundamental push pause at the beginning of any project before you launch forward. And it really allows individuals to speed up and this is, what I call aligning the forces for. Good. And this is the one of the first phases within innovation when you're kicking off any projects.
And this is what I go into a lot of detail in the unleash, your creativity calls. So if you want to actually find out more about that, then hop onto hi, hello, sarah.com forward slash unleash your creativity. And there's a whole description around aligning your forces for good. And, within the course, I go into a lot of detail into each tool and then we have the exercises.
And what's great about that is that you could actually apply it to a challenge that you have not only are those examples and case studies, but you would actually get to apply it to your specific challenge. And so this is a really great when we think about going to the gym and flexing muscles, throughout our career throughout our roles as leaders whether leading within a team or we're taking up a leadership role within our family or partner.
This is really great to initially have that moment where we're just asking ourselves hang on. What is it exactly that we're solving for here? And is this the right thing that we can be solving for, or we could be going after? So that's what we have today. This I'm really excited to share with you about the push polls and aligning with forces for good.
And a lot of the time as I've been sharing this with individuals, they've said, that we have no shortage of ideas in our organization, but the bit where we get stuck is actually getting our senior executives to be on the same page and to actually buy into the project. So this is a really great way.
Of bringing diverse individuals together to make sure that everybody is on the same page so that you can get the funding for the project so that you can get the continued ambassadorship for the project. And having a touch point at each phase within innovation means that as tiny tweaks are happening by the end, when you're presenting or you're pitching, it's actually no longer a pitch.
It just becomes a no-brainer where people are like yeah, like obviously that's where we've arrived. And I feel like I've been with you this whole time and yeah, of course we need to do this and how can I help you? So this is just, this is one of the secrets that really enables us to make a difference in our workplace and in the projects that we're working on by getting that initial.
Bye in perspective. And I actually just genuine contribution because if people see something that they've been no parcel of then there's usually something that they wish they'd been able to contribute. And by that time, if you've created your solution, if you've if you've got this really beautiful, gorgeous presentation it's almost the cake is baked, so they don't feel like they're really able to contribute.
And sometimes that hinders the ability to move projects forward. So really excited to share that with you. Again, if you want to really get into the nuts and bolts of, building the muscle memory to do this, check out a hi. Hello, sarah.com forward slash unleash your creativity.
I'm really excited that you decided to join today. And as I said at the beginning, every time he joined, every time you leave a review, it just makes this so exciting to build this community, to hear from you, to also hear from you in terms of what is important to you, what you want to hear about the challenges that you're facing.
I'm really thrilled to be able to hear about that and then bake that in to future podcasts, future communications. So that's all for now. And so grateful that you decided to join today. I'm your host, Sura Al-Naimi, until next time.