Tossing It Over the Wall: How Disconnects Will Get You Stuck

What happens when a decision is half-cooked? Or half-communicated? Or half-operationalized? Nothing. That’s what happens.

In the sped up world of today, 80% is the rule not the exception. Completing a task, let alone a sentence, is a constant challenge. Too many balls in the air. Too much data. Too little time. Assuming all the while the other person will pick up the pieces, read through the gaps, fill in the blanks. It clearly is an art, of course, to read another’s mind, but it rarely completes the picture.

Just look at Microsoft’s disastrous OS, Vista. A decision was made, resources were allocated, teams were deployed and, yet, it ended up being one of the greatest disasters in the computing company’s history. What happened?

The classic mistake of “tossing it over the Wall” – assuming the others would take it from here – leaving just enough gaps and just enough people to find blame. Instead of delaying the product and learning from engineers who knew of flaws, the C-suite at Microsoft instead basked in the illusion that the system they imagined was not only ready to launch, but ready to take the personal computing world by storm. Instead, Microsoft was dealt a critical blow that led many to believe the company was out of its league — and out of touch.

Creating traction, achieving an end state, completing the picture, what a relief – and what a rare commodity.

Though it may look like decisiveness and “flow” TOW (tossing it over the wall) is hesitation disguised as action. Instead, think about whom you need to communicate with to make your next move and ensure that your company is working in unison to achieve agility.

  • Expect to short circuit, so stay aware and resist the temptation.
  • Whenever you touch something finish it (that goes for a piece of paper on your desk or a major project).
    Be realistic about time – double your time horizon.
  • Slow down the communication. Keep clear about what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, what needs to happen and who needs to be involved. And spell it out.
  • Help another when you have the time – throw a resource (yourself) to a bottleneck or to a gap. It can make all the difference to getting to the end.
  • Solve to movement.

Don’t toss is over the wall, You’ll only be moving in place, and in today’s sped up world though that feels like movement, it is just another form of stuck.