If you want your team to do bold, creative work, you must take the first risk by giving them clear, precise direction. Here are a few ways to do so.
Why the right mix of Stability and Challenge is essential to brilliant work.
What does it take for a team to produce consistently brilliant creative work? Just talent? A fun and vibrant culture? Sheer will? Actually, in "create on demand" organizations the answer is often something else. Something surprising.
Have you ever been at a cocktail party, had someone ask you what you do for a living, and wished you could come up with something impressive-sounding to wow them? Adam Stelztner probably never experiences that. He's an engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory who has worked on flight missions including Galileo, Cassini, and Mars Pathfinder, and the Mars Exploration Rover project. He has a lot to say about innovation and leadership.
GTD is a system for organizing and acting on the work that matters most. There are a lot of nuances to the system, and as a result many people get lost in the weeds and intricate details and get off track and stop utilizing it altogether. That's unfortunate, because there are many principles that can be borrowed from GTD and acted upon, even if you don't use the entire system.
I just spent years researching and writing a book about voice. Voice? Seriously? Why would I do that? Honestly, if I offered you ten potential books to read, and a book about voice was among them, I'd guess that the voice book would probably be among the least...
The ugly truth is that great work isn’t enough. No one tells you this early in your career; It’s something you learn over time. Cream doesn’t automatically rise to the top, and we don’t live in a meritocracy. If you want your idea to be heard, you have to go the extra mile to ensure that it’s framed to resonate with the right audience.
After expending so much time, energy, and focus on something you care about, it can be devastating when it just doesn't click. What you do next is very important.
It’s noisy. Not physically noisy, but culturally noisy.
Everyone is clamoring for attention, and clanging their gongs trying to win a few seconds of your precious time. Clickbait, shock tactics, and distractions are so commonplace that they are now used even by previously “credible” institutions. It’s tempting to follow suit and fall into these tactics with your own work. Don't do it.