Trying another approach

Over the past few months I have seen many examples of people trying to make a certain approach work to solve a problem.  At some point, they gave up on the first approach and tried a different one.  Immediately incredible progress was made.  It looked like this:

It was literally the day they switched that you could see massive progress.  The key questions are:  How do you know its time to give up?  And how do you know your new approach will work?

In my experience, you know its time to give up when you are moving laterally (sideways).  When alot of work is being done, but the amount of AWESOME isn’t increasing.  When everyone seems to be in the weeds talking about little details and no one can zoom up to the forest level, then you may need to change approaches.

The second question to me doesn’t matter.  If what you are doing isn’t working, the the new approach can’t be any worse.  The key is to make sure it’s different.  Don’t just try doing the same things over and over.  “More of the same” is a terrible change of strategy.  If someone says, “We just need to work harder!” then you know you are doing the wrong thing.

The right approach makes everything easier.  Progress comes very quickly when you are using the right approach.  Everyone feels better within a week.  You will know it when it happens.  The key is to give it a chance.  Do you have a project now that could potentially use a new approach?  Try something new. Embrace Change.

Happy Holidays to everyone! 2011 is going to be a great year.

3 Replies to “Trying another approach”

  1. I find I follow this pattern most often when I speculatively generalize in the first approach, based on how I imagine the thing is going to want to be used and extended. When I limit the scope to just what is in front of me, and let explicit needs guide the development, I tend not to need a second approach. This may say more about the limitations of my speculative ability than anything else, but it seems to work for me.

  2. I really liked the line:

    “When alot of work is being done, but the amount of AWESOME isn’t increasing.”

    Also, I definitely find myself telling myself that things need to be solved by just “working harder.” I find this is especially true with my email inbox. If I *only* worked harder at clearing it, I might actually make some progress. I think the problem here is that it’s my bigger approach that’s failing. Rather than just feeling like I need to work harder at clearing my inbox, I think I need start working *differently* at clearing my inbox.

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