Jan 24, 2018
We don’t take enough time to stop and assess our progress. We are always reacting and not thinking! Do you find yourself making some of the same mistakes again and again? If so, it’s time to take a thoughtful retro perspective approach. Bill and his team do it at the end of every quarter and here are some exercises that show how you can do it, too.
Bruce Eckfeldt is a consultant, Certified Gazelles coach, author, and speaker on organizational development and performance management. Bruce is on the show today to talk all about retro perspectives and how you can use exercises to get better at it.
How did Bruce first get into retro perspectives? Bruce was first introduced to the concept when he was in software development. He’s been on projects where he spent weeks, months, and sometimes even years developing new products only to have them fall flat on their faces. How could he prevent this from happening? By taking a more lean approach to technology and by using retro perspective to strive for continuous improvement.
Before we dive into examples of how retro perspective works, what does retro perspective mean, exactly? To put it simply, it’s the process of looking at the past to improve the future. The goal is to use the things we’ve done, the results we’ve already generated, as data.
One of the best ways to cultivate a retro perspective environment is by creating a safe environment in the office to openly share mistakes without fear of pushback. From there, we need to collect the raw data, analyze it, drive down on what really happened, and then brainstorm for solutions.
There’s so much pressure not to mess up that people often try their best to cover their ass, as opposed to openly letting management know there are problems within the organization. There’s so much spin in an organization that ‘it’s okay to mess up,’ but it doesn’t help solve the true problem. What are some of the best ways to create a safe space to openly share mistakes in the office?
Bruce does two things. The first thing is called a prime directive, which sets the context of the meeting. This is said at the start of every meeting to help remind people it’s okay to share. This is the way the prime directive reads: Regardless of what we discover, we understand and truly believe that everyone did the best job they could, given what they knew at the time, their skills and abilities, the resources available, and the situation at hand.
The second thing Bruce does is to makes sure the senior team is modeling this behavior, too. It can’t just be on the staff’s side to admit mistakes. It’s important that senior leaders call each other out on mistakes they’ve made and bring them to the table as an opportunity to learn how to improve. When the team begins to see the senior team doing this, it really sets the tone and drives the point further that it’s okay to admit your mistakes.