In the series ‘Breaking Bad‘, lab chemist Gale Boetincher once talks about the purity of the crystal meth he can cook, guaranteeing his mafia boss 96% purity, a “hard-earned figure” he is proud of. The purity of his competitor (and future partner series hero Walter White)’s crystal meth is 99%. As Boetticher puts it:
That last 3%, it may not sound like a lot, but it is. It’s tremendous. It’s a tremendous gulf.
Relatedly, the Pareto principle (explained here) evokes that 80% of the value of a nation comes from 20% of the population. And business analysts would like us to think that the same applies to organisations and even ourselves.
The point here is two-fold:
- Every step we take towards change is a hard-earned one;
- Not every step we take is productive, however.
Focus on your leapfrogging steps
Change is hard, so we might want to focus on the changes we think will really be game changers. And as explained in the link above, you can actually consider your whole life from an 80-20 rule perspective, and find out where the value is.
So reflect daily, weekly, monthly, yearly on what creates value, what will allow you to work smarter. Thanks to a dialogue I had with an online mate, I have made it a weekly practice to reflect on what steps I’ve taken that allow me to be more effective, smarter.
Focus on outputs, and outcomes, not the activities and inputs you give. Focus on what creates effects, not what you are doing. Focus on others and how they become part of the effect, not just yourself.
Focus on your passion and on what makes you productive effortlessly. Find out where your purpose lies as the graph here shows.
And don’t compromise on reflection and on activities that also take your mind off the work. Sharpe your practice smarts toward the most essential and productive outcomes.
And earn every little step
And indeed remember that change is hard, even when you are willing to change.
But when it happens, it’s magical.
Whether it’s the fact that you are thinking differently about an issue and have basically evolved in your reflection.
Whether it’s that you are changing the language you are using, paying attention to very subtle distinctions that make a world of difference.
Whether it’s reflected in the way you act upon a situation differently.
Whether it’s connected to other people much more and your focus on change is actively embracing others.
Recognize, celebrate every one of these little steps. Dance to every step of the samba of change.
And on this musical note, finally, since the title of this post was inspired by two different tunes by The Police, have your shot at either/both of them.
Every breath you take…
Every little thing she does is magic…
Related blog posts:
- Agile KM from ‘SMART goals’ to ‘practice SMARTS’
- From evil-inflexible to fantastic-elastic, the not-so-simple shades of willingness to change
- The path to wisdom is paved with effectiveness, focus, humility and empathy