Move Fast & Fix Things by Frances Frei and Anne Morris

The Big Idea: Leadership is the practice of imperfect humans leading imperfect humans.

INTRO: Trust Us, It’s Fixable

  • You need trust and speed. No one’s getting on board a plane without confidence in the aircraft and without enough speed, you’ve not even getting airborne.
  • Organizational trust relies on authenticity, empathy, and logic.
  • Your most important job right now is not to be good; it’s to make sure that the people around you have a shot at being great.
  • Your mission is to convince yourself and the people around you that everything is fixable.

MONDAY: Identify Your Real Problem

  • Choose curiosity.
  • Build a team of problem solvers.
  • Explore what’s holding you back. Draft a list of problems that need to be fixed.
  • Pick a candidate problem to solve first.
  • Collect the organization’s problem data. Use the data you have now.
  • Build a case with the data you have. Enlist your data analyst
  • Learn more about your problem. Talk to people most affected by the problem.
  • Decide what you’re going to fix this week. Choose a problem with elevated urgency, clearest source of disruption and distraction.

TUESDAY: Solve For Trust

  • Fail with enthusiasm. At this stage, it’s more important to learn than to be right.
  • Find your organization’s trust wobble. Frame your problem from the perspective of the stakeholder to gain their trust.
  • Ten organizational trust pitfalls: aversion to making choices, reliance on heroic employees, shiny object syndrome, disengaged middle management, casual relationships with other people’s time, comfort with collateral damage, high incidence of the Sunday Scaries, people pleasing in the boardroom, tolerance for misalignment, delusions of meritocracy.
  • Do a business model checkup. Make sure there aren’t any logic cracks in the foundation of your business model.
  • Make your people better. Development can be formal (training) or informal (stretch assignments).
  • Change how you work. Be open to systemic solutions to your problem. The problem may be the system.
  • Identify “new” talent. Look internally first.
  • Make the difficult people decisions. Learn how to gracefully part ways with employees.
  • Don’t make it all about you. “Always ask the turtle”. Understand others’ motivations and perspectives.
  • Walk the talk. Prioritize the repair of any systemic breaks in authenticity.

WEDNESDAY: Make New Friends

  • Figure out why you’re doing this. Inclusion >> diversity.
  • Find your place(s) on the Inclusion Dial. Championed >> Celebrated >> Welcome >> Safe.
  • Make it physically safe to be different. Everyone must feel physically and emotionally safe when they come to work.
  • Welcome everyone despite their differences.
  • Celebrate uniqueness on your own team.
  • Champion uniqueness at the scale of the organization.
  • Include yourself, too.

THURSDAY: Tell a Good Story

  • Understand deeply to describe simply.
  • Honor the past (the good stuff). Identify what you love and don’t want to change. This is comforting for people to hear.
  • Honor the past (the not-so-good stuff). Be honest about what’s wrong.
  • Provide a clear and compelling change mandate. Share why it’s important for the organization to change.
  • Describe a rigorous and optimistic way forward. Data is your friend. Optimism is infectious.
  • Put the pieces of your story together. Stories are the best way to teach, inspire, and connect with our fellow human beings. It doesn’t have to be long; sometimes a single image can tell an entire story.
  • Repeat yourself. Repeat the message until you are sick of hearing yourself talk.
  • Identify and use your emotions. As a leader, your mood is quite literally contagious.
  • Ten underrated emotions in the workplace: frustration, regret, enthusiasm, devotion, happiness, discomfort, anger, joy, fellowship, grace.

FRIDAY: Go as Fast as You Can

  • Ten beliefs that get in the way of moving fast: meaning change happens slowly, we can do it later, other people’s time is an abundant, low-cost resource, we need more information, going fast is reckless, going slow is righteous, our people are stretched too thin, we have to be great at everything we do, structure is the enemy of speed, we need more time to prepare.
  • Get out of the way. Remove yourself as the bottleneck. Empower more people to make decisions.
  • Be bad at something else. You can’t be great at everything. Choose what you want to be great at and bad at.
  • Become a cultural warrior. Leaders must be good at strategy and culture.
  • Run better meetings. Agendas, note-taking, red team, summary, action items.
  • Reduce work in process. Prioritize to move faster. Little’s Law.
  • Create a way to fast-track projects. Identify special, high-impact projects and fast-track them.
  • Lean into conflict. Learn how to handle conflict gracefully. Books: Crucial Conversations, Radical Candor.

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