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We all suffer from a profound case of “Idea Surplus Disorder” at Filament — and we think that’s a good thing. Here are some of those ideas we’d like to share with you.

 

 
Posts in Shitty First Drafts
Make Your Experiments Smaller
 
 
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We work in “experiments” all the time with our customers, asking them to identify simple, cheap, fast, and easy things they can try to improve processes, increase communication, etc.

However, it isn’t always easy for people accustomed to working in large organizations to think small enough, so they regularly propose much larger experiments than necessary.

A few weeks ago, we shared a simple framework that has helped to shrink our customers’ experiments to just the right size. Here’s how we describe experiments now:

An experiment is smaller than a pilot which is smaller than a project which is smaller than an initiative.

The moment we shared this hierarchy, everyone began thinking about experiments the way we’d hoped they always would.

Track the Decisions You Make and the Decisions You Need After Every Meeting

We recently hosted a Meeting Design Sprint: a four-day workshop to help a client redesign a big meeting that had grown stale as well as to help the attendees rethink the dozens of other meetings they owned or influenced.

One of the best ideas to emerge from our time together: At the end of every meeting create two lists: “The Decisions We Made” and “The Decisions We Need.”

On the first list, capture the specific decisions you made in the meeting and the details for each. On the second, capture the decisions you need from elsewhere in the organization and then assign the responsibility to go “find” that decision (along with the when, the who, and the how) so your team doesn’t get stuck waiting on someone else.

Every time the leader of your team has a meeting with her leader, she should bring your team’s master list of “Decisions We Need” with her so she can ask her leader to make the decisions needed to move forward or use her influence to help find them elsewhere.

Use This Worksheet Before Your Next Meeting
 
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How much time do you spend thinking about your meetings before you send out the invitations? Is everyone necessary — and do they know their roles and the preparation you expect from them? Are you trying anything new? And will there be any Elephants, Squirrels, Zombies, or Porcupines in the room?

Download this worksheet and complete it BEFORE you call your next meeting. Answering the prompts will help you be clearer about the purpose of your meeting, the expectations to set, the experiments you’ll try, and the roles of all involved.

Give it a try and let us know what you think!