How Agile Are You?

"50% of occupations in corporations today will no longer exist by 2025."  from Fast Forward 2030: The Future of Work and the Workplace In less than 10 years, we're going to see a massive landscape change in companies, organizational structures, and even customer wants and needs. To succeed you need to be flexible, innovate, and be agile.

For example, 10 years ago, Steve Jobs walked out on stage and introduced the iPhone. At that moment, we couldn't even comprehend how smartphones took over our lives. We now have instantaneous access to a multitude of abilities only dreamed of a few years ago. Thousands of companies have sprung up that deliver physical and virtual products for our smartphones — and they're making billions (Instagram, Snapchat, etc.).

And guess what — it's only going to move faster and faster. So we need to come up with another way of anticipating change, observing the landscape, orient where we fit in, make a quick decision, and take action. We don't have time for five-year plans anymore — we need to cull them down to one-year plans and quarterly updates.

I have a solution for you. It's called the OODA Loop. Developed by military strategist and United States Air Force Colonel John Boyd, the OODA Loop was applied to the combat operations process, often at the strategic level in military operations.

The phrase OODA loop refers to the decision cycle of observe, orient, decide, and act — the approach favors agility over raw power in dealing with human opponents in any endeavor.

In fact, decisions occurs in a recurring agile cycle of observe-orient-decide-act (OODA):

  • Observe - What's happening? What's changing? Who's growing? Who's shrinking? OPEN YOUR EYES.
  • Orient - Where are you? What is your position in the marketplace? Where do you need to go? Who do you need to engage? SET A FIRM FOUNDATION, SEE WHERE YOU ARE AND WHERE YOU NEED TO GO.
  • Decide - Once all facts are in - make a quick decision. Don't prevaricate or procrastinate. DECIDE & STICK TO IT.
  • Act - Take action - do what you need to do, see who you need to see, meet who you need to meet, spend what you have to spend. MOVE FORWARD.

If an individual or an organization can process this cycle quickly, observing and reacting to unfolding events more rapidly than the competition — they can "get inside" the competition's longer decision cycle and gain the advantage.

In the next 5-10 years, new jobs will require increased creative abilities, social and emotional intelligence and the ability to leverage AI. Those jobs will be immensely more fulfilling than today’s jobs which are mostly centered on recurring activities with tedious paperwork and red tape.

So if you want to succeed in business — try the OODA method. It works.

Top 10 Tools I Use To Work Anywhere.

I have a number of systems and tools to help me be my best at any time for my clients and also be able to boot up my office virtually — anywhere at anytime.

Tools That Help Me Perform At 100%.

I am frequently asked about many of the tools I use in my practice. Just a word of warning, this post is definitely not a 'static' list — these tools do change in capability, size and manufacturer.

What Would Happen If You Disconnected From Email?

Take a trip with me. You have your smartphone and you unlink your email settings from your email server, making it impossible to receive email on your smartphone. You could probably still access your email via the browser on your smartphone — but that is so time-consuming, you'd rather not.

Your last email to your team, clients, and colleagues is to let them know you will be checking email at regular intervals during the day while you are at the office and if there is an actual emergency, to call you on your smartphone. But for all intents and purposes, you are not reading or responding to emails when you're not in the office.

What would happen?

1. You might get a few more phone calls.

But that's not a terrible thing. Instead of getting into a viscious email communication chain on some obscure topic, you can probably handle it with a quick 3-5 minute call. And you can group your callbacks and keep them short.

2. You get more organized and focused when you did access your email at the office.*

Initially, it would build up. But as team members, clients, and colleagues would notice, email would cease to be a primary communication vehicle for you. Since you only had a limited amount of time to read your email, you would only focus on those emails that were from key members of your team or were directly sent to you. Anything else most likely can fall by the wayside. *I totally understand if you spend 90-100% of your time away from the office — your smartphone is critical. But what would happen if you just checked emails when you opened your laptop? Or if you checked your smartphone at discreet times during the day and not ALL the time?

3. You would get slower replying to email.

No more quick responses — email is not texting or twitter. In fact, I would ask you not to use those tools either. The whole idea is to limit interruptions to your day to be able to focus on the important and strategic things happening in your life. If it's tactical- or emergency-based use the phone.

4. You would get faster communicating with your staff, clients, and colleagues.

No more long-winded emails — no death-defying email chains that go on forever. Just small phone interruptions (or grouping of phone calls) to connect and engage, manage, or inform. You can get a reputation of fast phone calls, keep them to 1-2 minutes or less and focus on the task at hand and make decisions or take action. Email prolongs debate — how many times have you been put through the email wringer with various vicious email cycles?

A number of clients of mine have done this and they've found a significant lightening of their load AND they are getting more things done. Why?

Email is not a very good communication vehicle.

It takes a long time to compose an email, there are many instances when you do give direction and someone doesn't see it, or the email message is misconstrued in a way where you come of yelling or reprimanding. Bottom line - email is not 'two-way' communication — it's a broadcast medium. In fact, it's worse, when you run into CC: and BCC: transmissions of the same email.

These reactive responses deliver the wrong message — not promoting or pushing projects and people forward — they actually get into email ruts. Trust me — I've been there.

Finally, email turns into heroin for some people. You know who you are — reading your email constantly like a stock ticker — responding instantly to people. How much productivity is wasted with this type of communication? What might be a better way of communicating?

So if you're brave — try unlinking your email today. If you just want to try it, don't check your email at all today — have an email response: "I won't be able to check my email today on my phone, please call me if it's urgent."

Go for it.