Teams operate best when they have perfect clarity and focus. This can be challenging to almost impossible at times, but one thing I have learned is we all need a common set of operating principles to fall back on when clarity and focus are in short supply. These basic principles are intended to help an individual or team to keep moving. The list provides basic tools to help create clarity or to allow for action to be taken without fear of a mistake. I have found that 7 out of 10 principles generally work for any team and only need minor adjustment or 2 or 3 additional principles. I am also constantly looking for ways to refine the principles to make them more clear and actionable without being specific instructions. So here they are in no particular order:
- 2 in the box. Escalate until you have someone with shared responsibility or accountability. Batons get passed not dropped.
- Lead with a straw man. No one likes to be put on the spot, give them something to work with or to save face with if they are not prepared.
- A problem has a cause and a solution bring both.
- Decisions are made better with data.
- People understand what they know. Give examples using what they know.
- Outcomes first, then focus on the means and the credit.
- Your communicating enough when you feel like you are bothering people.
- UNODIR (Unless Otherwise Directed) Take measured action, adjust and communicate.
- Draw a picture. A picture is worth 10 meetings (at least), even one hand drawn in pencil and scanned.
- Here Be Dragons. There are many risks, challenges and issues mark them for others.
These 10 aren’t perfect but they can only get better.