The Framework: Frame
In the sixth segment, we’ll consider the framework element of framing. Including the right people at the right time (early and often) not only engages people, but it helps to inform the critical work you must accomplish to be successful. You can listen to the audio below. There is also a transcript if you would like to refer back to this segment.
Your mission is too important and your resources too precious.
Work with ingenuity!
Transcript Below: The transcript below is not meant to replace listening to the audio, but serves as a reference for post-listening learning. Please forgive any errors due to the skill level of the A.I. robot that created this transcript.
FOMO we all know what it is. we all dread it. It’s different for all of us. FOMO for me is not FOMO for you. But the moment of being left out, the moment of realizing you didn’t get chosen is a moment of sting indeed. But in the world of ingenuity, in the world of bringing our collective energy together, we ought to fear folo F, O, L. O, fo low fear of leaving out. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen the look of follow. In my work as a consultant and coach, I’ve sat with scores and scores of people, leaders and teams. When they have the moment they realize they left someone out, that was critical to the work of ingenuity and solution making. It’s normally not something they do on purpose.
It often comes from a mindless place. But the devastating consequences can occur, no matter the motive, undo, redo, rework, hurt feelings FOMO, as a result of being left out, energy waning deflation, a look from the one left out like really, really, you didn’t think of me? All of this is mostly avoidable. If when we are executing solutions with ingenuity, we remember this. We ought to fear more than anything else in the process, we ought to fear leaving people out who need to be at the table, we ought to have follow on a regular basis, when we are trying to solve with ingenuity. Before your mind takes you to the other side, let me just jump there for you. I’m not saying that everybody can be at every meeting.
I’m not suggesting that you’re paralyzed until you have 72 rounds of conversations to make sure that everybody feels good about the solution and about the direction. There is obviously a way you can go overboard with the idea of follow and actually paralyze your ability to move forward. But if you think about the time it takes to stop a process, insert the right people who were left out, hear from them, hear the implications they’re bringing to the table, then have to undo redo or rework based on their insights. That also can take a lot of time. We seem to be okay with spending a lot of time slowing something down because we were mindless in our list making of the people who ought to be at the table. Then about halfway through, maybe not even that far, we start to realize, oh, we left it out.
Oh, we left Dave out. Oh no. I didn’t talk to my boss’s boss about this. And I remember her saying, I’m really interested in this. Don’t move forward without me because I’ve got some ideas for you. Oh, expletive deleted. As my friend Kevin would say. Here’s the most important thing to connect. When you think about follow and ingenuity when we leave people out who need to be at the table. We slow stifle stunt or stall ingenuity. It just doesn’t happen. It doesn’t happen with the same magic. It doesn’t happen at the same pace. It doesn’t happen with the same force.
The right people at the table in the right sequence can make all the difference. It doesn’t mean that everybody needs to be at every table. But thinking about who needs to be at the table and win is one of the most important and often overlooked parts of creating ingenuity with other people. We need other people, we need multiple perspectives, not just in the designing of the solution statement, not just in the pushing of that solution statement around, not just in having other people challenge it like they’re a shark on Shark Tank. No, we need them to help come up with the best ideas, and then help us execute on those ideas in ingenious ways. And if people are left out when they ought to be at the table, it creates a deflation, that causes them more difficulty in revving up their engine to want to be involved. It’s not that they can’t get there. It’s not that they can’t put aside that they were left out. But it slows the process.
The second element that I have seen over and over when looking at teams with high ingenuity is that they bring the right people to the table at the right time to frame and execute the work. I call this stakeholder identification and sequencing, stakeholder identification and sequencing, not everybody needs to be at the first meeting, not everybody needs to be at every meeting. Sometimes there are people who need to be involved early. And often. Sometimes there are just people that need to be involved once. Sometimes there are people that need to be involved downstream.
Whenever someone needs to be involved in the process of both designing ingenious solutions and executing them over time, the more they’re left out, the less the ingenuity will flow, or it will take a lot to get it back up to the speed and to the magic that you need on a regular basis. Stakeholder identification is critical when you start to frame out a solution or reframe a solution. Because remember, this is happening all the time in real time. Sometimes it happens in sequence, we create a solution. We frame it out, we put the work together, that’s going to be done.
And then we start in. But we’re always reframing. Why because we work in complex adaptive systems that are always changing. So we’re always back to the drawing board of solution making. And when we’re back at the drawing board of solution making, we have to reframe how we’re going to do it. And here’s what I’ve noticed about high ingenuity quotient teams, when it comes to framing out a solution or reframing along the way, they get the right people in the conversation. And they think about people as a system in which they’re going to intervene. Rather than thinking about the project as a set of tasks that need to be accomplished.
Now, let me explain the difference. Over the years as I worked with both ingenious and non ingenious teams, I noticed a very subtle, but very powerful difference between them. The ingenious group didn’t think of their work on a particular solution as a simple set of tasks to accomplish. They saw it rather as something that would be done a series of interactions and actions that would happen in a system. And that system was populated by people populated by stakeholders. And what they did the ingenious team.
What they did is they intervened in the system at the places where people whether individuals or groups, were going to be critical to the work of the solution. They intervened. Like they inserted themselves in a very strategic way to both inform and invite and entice the people in those various robots who were going to be critical to the work to join them. They did this because they knew they needed the energy of that person or that group, but also needed the insight of that person or that work. And then here’s the biggie, the work actually got formed around the people, rather than around sterile tasks that were decided in a meeting. Now, this is a really important part of this, and I summed it up this way with this mantra, when you are framing the solution, or you are reframing something that now needs to be done differently. Think, where, before how, or where informs your how,
the where, which is a space where people are working, that’s what we’re calling the where. So it’s a space where work is being done, either by an individual or by a group. That’s the where the where informs the how, to many times people sit in a sterile room, and they’re a steering team, or they happen to be the team that came up with the initial solution. And they just start on their own rattling off what they’re going to do. And this is the mistake that low ingenuity teams made that I saw, they just came up with a task list of things to be done, and left people out of it.
Oh, and then guess what happened? Follow, they left people out. They left people out because they didn’t think about stakeholder identification, and stakeholder sequencing in the putting together of the tasks. So they did, they did this in a way that created two problems. One, they left people out and to their task list was anemic, it was weak, because they didn’t really have the right insights to come up with the robust tasks that needed to be done. Where was that living in the brains and minds of the people who were in the other areas of the organization.
And they left them out until they realized, oh, expletive deleted, we probably should have talked to Sarah about this, who wants to email her ask her to come to a meeting. And then it just repeats the dysfunction. Where should inform how you intervene in your system, you have your solution statement, then next thing you should do is ask yourself, Who needs to be involved? Where are they in the system? Who are the groups of people that are going to need to be involved or individuals that are going to need to be involved and list those groups and people out? Put them out? Write them out on the board before you start shaping the work? Shape your invitation list of people? Who needs to be involved? Who before how were informs how.
So you put that list out? And then you ask yourself another critical question. And that is this. Is there a sequence to that list that we’ve just created? So let’s say you have 12 stakeholders that you’ve identified three individuals, three teams, and 366, external vendors that you work with, and they all are part of what it’s going to what it’s going to take to pull off this solution. Then you ask yourself this, is there an important order to how we should intervene and engage the stakeholders? And here’s where the magic happens. Because as you answer the question about the sequencing, you also start to put the flow of work together. Let me give you an example.
Let’s say that there’s a group that wants to do a marketing group and they want to do something extra special around the holidays for their current clients and they want to send everyone a gift that opens up and, and says Happy Holidays from and it’s got the picture of the brand on it. And they’re working on putting this together. It’s June. And they’re thinking about the end of the year, and they want this thing to go out in December. And they’re asking themselves, what’s it going to take to do this. And they start sequencing out the various people who need to be involved.
Well, clearly, it needs to be involved. And they List and List and List and List. But recently, they’ve had a change. At the top, there’s a new CEO. And she runs things a little more tight than the outgoing CEO did, who founded the company that was kind of, you know, free flowing, and hey, let’s just make it happen. And let’s see what happens. Now the organization was at a point where they needed more structure and order to get to the next level. And so this next CEO is coming in with a slightly different philosophy. Does she like serendipitous moments?
Yeah. But does she know that the organization is only going to survive if there’s an a measure of discipline? That’s put to that good chaos? Absolutely. So she’s been making some changes. And one of them is she’s looking at what gets sent out to customers, why they’re doing it, and asking people to really justify. So the team thinks, what about our new CEO, Pam, where is she in the sequence, and after some deliberation, they decide that she should be at a conceptual meeting, before anything is created, they argued a bit about whether she should see a GIF, or she should just simply be at the conception meeting. But they thought because of the energy it would take to create something, because of what it would take to invest in the energy of other people, they needed to put her at the top of the list.
They had the meeting, she loved the idea. She was a little concerned about the timeframe, and ask them to go back and put the timeframe together and show her they were off. And as she walks out the door, she turns and says, I really appreciate you, including me early. These are the kinds of things that help us make better decisions, and have less things we have to undo later. Thank you. So now, they’ve they’ve hit a score with their new CEO, and the work required can flow better now that they have her approval.
What did they do? Well, the first piece of work in their solution, was the meeting with the CEO, how did they get to that work? They got to that work by asking who and where, who and where helps you get to your how, if you sequence the stakeholders that need to be involved, first by identifying them, and then by putting them literally in a list, first, this, this person, then this group, then, and then those four, they all happen together. And then we just need these people at the end. This is more like informing, but they’re going to need to be informed, whatever it might be, you put that sequence together, you’re starting to put the work, you’re starting to actually frame the work. Why?
Because you’re seeing this as an intervention to bring people together. And as you bring people together through those interventions, the work rolls out in front of you, and you are more likely to be able to engage the energy of the people you need. This is the power of framing as an intervention, not as a set of tasks. We make lists of tasks, but we intervene in systems where people human beings are doing work, and when we engage them and engage them at the right time.
Let’s flip the scenario. What if our team would have gone to it first and had them spend 1330 hours putting a gift together and then had a mock up of marketing around it? And then and then and then and then gone to the CEO? And she said no And then instead of turning around and praising the team, she turned around and say, This is why you need to bring me in early. So we can avoid these kind of mistakes.
Now, I don’t know if that’s what happened in your situation. It just happens to be the way I’ve painted the scenario. But we all know what it’s like to be brought in too early. And we’re sitting in a meeting thinking, Why am I here, but we also know what it means to be brought in too late, makes our life and the lives of others much harder. Bring people in by identifying them and sequencing them. And not only will you intervene in a way that engages people, but your tasks will roll out as a result, because work forms around people. Frame it.
When people are ingenious, they’re not just trying to accomplish tasks. They’re trying to intervene in a system and influence people toward that solution toward that work. And as they do that, as they identify the right people and sequence out how to engage them, the work will fall with that sequencing. And as they engage appropriately, people are more likely to stay with them through the execution and through the adaptation. And this is why we should all try to avoid FOLO.