From the moment I realized that those squiggles on street signs and cereal boxes and bits of paper my mum peered at whilst shopping actually meant something, I’ve been fascinated by words. I love to read. For me, happiness is a good book, a cup of coffee (a bag of Maltesers would only add to the experience) and time to read.
Despite being an early reader, I seem to have missed out on some of the children’s classics. I appear to have jumped straight from Mr Men to Narnia with no Peter Rabbit, Wind in the Willows or Winnie the Pooh in between.
Idly leafing through a copy of Winnie the Pooh recently, I was struck by its opening lines:
“Here is Edward Bear, coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin. It is, as far as he knows, the only way of coming downstairs, but sometimes he feels there really is another way, if only he could stop bumping for a moment and think of it.”
A A Milne
Hmm. I recognize that feeling.
Sometimes work (and life) is all about measurement, it seems. Page impressions; TV ratings; ads sold; copy sales; number of unique users; rate fluctuations; cold calls made; products scanned; calories ingested; calories expended; visits booked; project compliance; money saved; houses sold; product non-conformance; newsletter sign-ups: you name it, we measure it.
Once we’ve measured it, we present it: maybe as a graph on the notice board by the water cooler, a presentation at the board meeting, a conversation with colleagues or a report in the company newsletter. The trouble is that we’re often so busy that the process ends there: we know what happened but we don’t have time to stop and think about it.
And so, like the bear, we keep on doing the same thing the same way and getting the same result, whether it’s a sore head or an abandoned basket on our e-commerce site.
What if we were to build in thirty minutes to our week to review these measurements we carefully record?
What if we asked ourselves three simple questions –
What’s going well here?
What needs to change?
What do we need to know more about?
Perhaps we could stop bumping our heads.
Today’s pebble for your thoughts: Will you take some time this week to stop bumping your head and consider the possibility of another way?
Do let me know what you think,
Turning over pebbles is the blog of Thinking Space Coaching.
If you’d like to make progress in your work and life, why not email me to see how we can work together?