Outdated content that has been abandoned by the side of the trail is confusing at best and perhaps liter. Faded, inaccurate, confusing, and left over from a previous project. How many outdated messages do we leave throughout our organization? On our websites, in our facility, among our rituals, or even in current activities? Do we even see these legacy symbols anymore? Is there a process where someone outside our enterprise might help us identify what has become unseeable?
How we welcome those we aspire to serve makes a difference, and it establishes a mindset and displays our core values. There is an opportunity to design with intention, engage, inspire, and energize. Equally, one can create the mundane, limit expectations, and secure the lowest common denominator. How do you welcome your team members? Is it unique and worthy of comment, or does it feel like roll call in a high school classroom?
Making a finished product visible is a challenge for any work in progress. It might be easier with a brick-and-mortar project versus creating something entirely new. If we can attach an anchor point, others can join us on the belay ledge and watch us try to solve the next pitch as we climb upwards. If we leave our audience too far below or out of sight, our progress is anecdotal, and it is harder to sustain momentum. How might we bring our fans along on the journey? How might we offer a glimpse into what we are creating and how it will allow us to make a difference?
Placing a sign with an important message does not prevent the act. A poster is a method of trying to influence behavior. If the message does not resonate or is not part of the story people tell themselves, it is just some words, and the activity that we hope to shape for a different outcome continues unfettered.
Traveling through the world, we leave tracks. Some of our trails are a signature reflecting our journey. Our mark might inspire some, create fear in others, and be entirely missed by those who are distracted. And yet we continue forward.
The idea that we can categorize and sort things into well-defined groups is academic. Overlap in the real world is necessary and evident in real-time. Wildlife does not comprehend the human-centered definition of property boundaries. We can mark, fence, and post private property signs, but might we consider how to remain flexible to different mindsets and natural tendencies?
The aircraft tray table broke. Perhaps the forces of daily passenger use overcame the lifetime capabilities of the mechanism. A post-it note confirms the tray table is inoperable. We can overcome the inconvenience but might it feel better if there was clarity on how and when broken becomes operational. If the post-it note stated the tray table would be fixed tonight, this week, within a month, might we feel that our suffering was temporary, which is a more fathomable and digestible period?
How might we acknowledge the broken elements of our cause and share our plan to return the disrupted piece into service? We may still receive complaints, but a definitive answer on how we are moving forward is better than ‘we know.’
How long would you allow your bedroom smoke detector to continue sounding a low battery alarm? If it is evident and annoying, we tend to remedy the situation quickly. If we run a large hotel and the bedside clock is alarming in an unoccupied room, housekeeping might turn it off the next day. There is a scale to inconveniences, but we might want to understand the perspective of the people who interact with the problem. Almost every airline challenge ranks above the broken tray table. However, if it remains unfixed for a week, sixty passengers are disappointed. Continue for a month, and two-hundred forty passengers are without the tray table amenity. Fix it the first overnight, and the inconvenience stops at eight.
Driving off the side of the road does not define our journey. The event adds depth and dimension to our stories.
The swimming conditions are not optimal at the reservoir right now, and it is impossible to swim in the designated area. The water level might rise in a month, and the beach will be covered with water. Selecting the best month to swim is a critical step.
If we ask for a philanthropic investment days after receiving a gift, our timing might appear unappreciative and insensitive. If we have not expressed our gratitude, demonstrated the first investment’s impact, and built a trusting relationship, our timing might disrupt future contributions.
How might we balance our proposed actions with a sensible timeline? How might we be human-centered in our approach, so a calendar informs but does not define our next step?