As I’ve taken up different fitness routines, sports, diets etc. throughout the years, I’ve gotten experience with what the hard thing about them all are. And it’s not picking them. It’s doing them.
The most likely reason for me not to be fit or healthy wasn’t ever that I picked the wrong strength training programme. It was that I had either procrastinated so long on the right one to do that I never did anything, or I had fallen off the wagon and stopped the weekly schedule I had laid out.
With a little more grey hair in my professional career, I’ve started to call this “the job”.
The job is not to figure out the perfect fitness plan. Find one quickly that looks good enough. The actual job is to set myself up for success against executing against that regularly.
Malcolm Gladwell’s Nudge describes some techniques for helping push us in the right direction. Set up your environment & routine for success. Leave your gym clothes at the end of the bed.
These sound so simple that you could almost overlook them. I’ve found them to be the most critical tools in driving outcomes. Everyone wants to be “strategic”. Most people undervalue execution.
Eat the frog. Do the most difficult thing first when your motivation is at it’s highest. This doesn’t work with all tasks where you can’t reorder.
Write down a plan. Review frequently. Calendar in the review so that it gets done. It was amazing to me early in my career how effective create a small list of things that need to be done and ticking them off one by one was to my motivation.
Take the smallest step on the journey. eg Calendar the meeting. Procrastinating on a personnel issue? Send HR an email.
Share a plan with someone who will hold you accountible. Maybe your boss or a mentor and commit to reviewing it.
Figuring out the job
Sometimes, the hardest thing is figuring out “the job”.
The job in software development is delivery. Building things on laptops is the easy bit. Getting and running things in production is hard.
The job when you inherit an oganisation is generally about making the personnel changes you need to make. Swiftly. Most people overindex on the plan and don’t emphasize enough how are they and their organisations going to execute. Most plans I’ve seen identify most of the personnel issues correctly. If you come back to them in a year though, it’s amazing how many have not been actioned.
The job is frequently the unsexy, unloved part of what needs to be done. It often does not look like the important part from the outside. It’s rarely, if ever, strategic. It frequently is more doing than thinking and It frequently requires discipline, consistency or other boring words that require something to be done again and again over time.
If you’re still unsure then the most likely source of information here is experienced practitioners.
“Amateurs talk strategy. Professionals talk logistics”