Moving things

Moving things in a company is really hard.

Everyone’s role in a company is to move things (or be part of it) at any point. Without exception.

Moving things requires ownership. Moving things require care. And not just intense care about what you do but caring about making a company successful beyond yourself.

Let’s look at a possible scenario:

You are a designer. Let’s say you don’t like the current layout or a part of the product.

What do you do to move this in motion and fix things?

You come up with a new flow. Highlight the problems.

Convince people of your ideas.

Prototype.

Convince people more.

Work with the engineers or a product manager to change it.

Test it after it’s live. It doesn’t look quite like what you had in mind, so you file some bugs.

Test again.

Possibly iterate.

At this step what you had initially imagined has moved in motion.

In this situation you only move something if you go through the whole thing. It requires a person to be extremely vested in the entire process. If you’re just passionate about the designing aspect, you may lose interest after the prototyping stage. Then it’s not your “problem” anymore, you played your part.

You have to be vested in moving things to make stuff a reality.

And every step has challenges. So your end goal is to move it; that’s the only way it ‘s going to happen. Not protoype as a designer, not code as an engineer, not operations or sales. Just moving things. That’s everyone’s role.

Startups have to be filled with people who can move things. That’s the only way things move quickly.

In another scenario you may meet with managers, create a document (or a Powerpoint) about ideas which should be done and then do nothing about it. Moving things on the ground requires hard work. The rest is relatively easier.

The qualities of people who are movers:

1. Caring enough – Not just about yourself or your skill. But about the company, about things bigger than yourself. Most problems are solved not by intelligence but by caring enough to solve it.

2. Persistence – There are so many little challenges for any form of problem.

3. Collaboration – If you can’t work with people, you can’t move things. Everything can’t be done alone.

Moving things require doers. Not talkers. It requires execution. Requires people who are willing to play in the battlefield and not be critics. All of this stuff is hard. But it’s a choice we make when we join a company especially a startup whether we want to move things or not. Whether we care about moving things.

You see a problem? Do you care about moving it? We can choose to safely ignore a lot of problems we see. We need to choose to move every day or be part of something someone is moving. That is really hard work.

I’m in no way advocating trying to solve all problems one sees.You have to pick your battles, but pick some and solve them. Move them. Own it and solve.

That’s the kind of people to seek to hire, who turn out be strong A-players. This is irrespective of skill.

What do you care about?  Care about it enough to move it. That’s what matters.

More notes on moving things as I wrote this:

1. Moving things becomes harder as companies become bigger. It’s still very challenging.

2. Helping people move things is big in itself. Shows you’re an amplifier, a team player.

3. Not calling it execution, because it’s not just your role you’re executing on but execution of a much larger thing.

4. Different industries require this in different lengths. When you’re a consultant you may not be able to move things as I describe, but there is a different form of impact.

5. When you don’t care about moving things –it’s time to leave.

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