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The Diving Board Syndrome


I just want to share with you a little bit about being all in, sitting on the diving board.

I’ve just been witnessing a bit of a trend across my portfolio of private coaching clients recently, where they make a commitment to go all in.

They document it down, they do the management meeting, the settlement project, the tasks at home, and anybody who works with me will get the tasks home.

Get the days on there, let’s get on with it, take an action, and then they go about normal life, so what’s the accountability for somebody like myself in the boardroom?

Committing to Your Responsibilities

They’re making the commitment to go all in, even down the dates, delegating the responsibilities across the team, then when it goes, they don’t actually get it done.

What happens is, when we go back in and we say “oh here, let’s pull up the project and “how we’re doing with these tasks,” and at the moment it’s the 8th of May, to give you an example, I’m meeting with a client today and tasks on there from the 5th of May, 6th of May, and what I try and do is say to him, “so how are you going on with this?”

Whatever “this” is, it’s a task.

They get that blank expression.

They’re not tuned in or dialled into the actual project or the fact that they’ve lost all sort of awareness that this task should’ve been done three days ago.

Of course, the project’s behind and they’re not really keeping on top of it.

That’s what I call “sat on the diving board.”

  • You’ve made the commitment to go all the way up the ladder.
  • You’ve walked to the end of the diving board.
  • You’ve had a peer over the edge and you see how far down it is, and then you’ve given the wave to the crowd, and you’re all about going in and we’re going to dive in, everybody’s sat there waiting for you to make it happen.

Then you’ve sat on the end and, lack of control.

Some of these tasks then turn into days late, not too much of an issue, we never get everything done on time, there’s a schedule, there are emergencies that happen.

That’s fine.

But for crying out loud, if you’re going to make the commitment, what you’ve got to be aware of is, think about what your team’s doing.

They’re saying, “Hey I’m expecting my boss “or my manager or my employee to have this done by then.”

Then it doesn’t happen, and then not only does it not happen, but it’s not on anybody’s radar, and because it’s not on anybody’s radar.

Then that familiarity comes back in, and it’s a lot harder to discipline people or expect a positive change in your business if you don’t actually take action in getting these things done.

The Ladder

So, if you’re going to climb the ladder, and you’re going to walk out on the diving board, and you’re going to wave to the crowd, and you’re going to sort of publicly go out there and say we’re going to get this done.

Then I expect you to dive off, get in there, and swim with the sharks and get on with it.

I don’t expect you to sit there and forget all about it.

This is what I see all too often so, think about it, get a Teamwork project management system, Asana, Trello, or whatever you want to do, get tasks from there and make them visible and get notified.

What I would also do, we’re massive fans of project management systems, we use Teamwork, Excels, but what I’m saying is for key factors, especially when it’s major changes in your business.

Get a whiteboard and put everybody’s name at the side of it with the task and the date that it’s done so everybody’s looking at it, because the problem with Teamwork, or Asana, Trello, all these sort of project management systems, Cypher, all awesome tools, but if they’re only reminding you and you’re cancelling that task down and you haven’t got accountability to the rest of your team.

It’s quite easy for you to snooze that task and then let it slip.

So get it out on a whiteboard, the core tasks, the core milestones, it’s really going to make a difference and really start to get visibility and bring accountability.

Call it what you want, an embarrassment board, an accountability board, project task board, I don’t really care.

What I’m saying is, get it out there and let everybody in the office see who needs to be doing what and when.

Then you’ll see that old, old adage, if you can’t measure it, you can’t control it.

Soon as you start to put measurements on it, you’re going to start to see that uplift in performance.

Mike Midgley

Mike Midgley is the Strategy Director at 6teen30 Digital and a dynamic digital entrepreneur, nxd, strategist, public speaker and host of TheOpenMike Podcast show & Co-Host at The Inbound Podcast. Mike has achieved successful six and seven-figure exits over a 25-year career, raised in excess of £1.6m [$2.5m] in Venture Capital and highly experienced with franchising.