Magic words that create progress

Updated: May 4, 2018



When coaching a team or working in a team, negotiating a team decision is one of the key things. Super adaptive provides these opportunities naturally and makes it easier for teams to choose. The short cycles make it safer to try something. It is not that we are going to stick to this forever, it is just for the coming hour or 15 minutes. I will provide blogs in the category “Magic words”. Here is a few.


Magic words: “for now”


Nothing is forever. Really, think about it. The universe has been around for 13 billion years. That is a long time, but not forever. This version of the app will stick around maybe for a few months. The drink you choose lasts for about 15 minutes. Making decisions “for now” always provides progress. Even “for now” can mean “for the coming hour” or “for the coming 15 minutes”. As long as a team sticks to a direction for a short while to finish something. After those 15 minutes, the team can choose to extend it for another 15 minutes or to change to something else.


Magic words: “in order to..”


At certain points in the process everybody is waist deep in the mud, building something. It is liberating to elevate from that every cycle and reconfirm your Aim. This can be done in 5 seconds.


Mostly, the Aim is easily formulated as “In order to achieve ..”. Because this reminds of what we are doing in the bigger picture.


So, for example, why are we changing all the fonts? “In order to provide users better legibility” or “In order to provide users an improved experience of quality.” Why are we changing the “add to my basket button”, in order to improve conversion.


The trick is to let everybody agree on the “In order to..”. It is consequential laddering, so we agree with the why, therefore we need this, and therefore this is part of that, there is many things to do, let’s start with something small contributing to that bigger picture. Is that OK? For now? ;-) Most of the time, it is.


“In order to..” is also powerful when somebody proposes a bad solution. The solution could be expensive, over extensive, or made by a department that thought to be helpful by going deeper into details. Most of the time that doesn’t work. I know tons of examples of marketing departments proposing a design to designers, where the design is created in a spreadsheet or even in a slideshow or typed in a word processor. The simple question you can ask is “What do you want to achieve?” or “In order to achieve what?”, let them agree on that and then propose a better solution, easier or with more value.


If you have an idea for something new and you need to involve somebody else, the best thing to do is to involve that person immediately and make them understand what you want to achieve. Define your "In order to..". Don't make something in detail without them. Chances they will reject it are high, because as experts they can create a better solution than you can. And as humans, they also enjoy the process of creating something rather than being told what to do. Just invite these people, explain your "In order to.." and, for instance, evaluate examples quickly together to define your requirements.