How do we get from here to where we want to be? Hint: don’t draw a roadmap. The road we’ll travel in six months doesn’t exist yet.
Landing zone: “an improvement that would feel like an accomplishment, as well as a pause point to catch breath, reassess, and plan how to achieve the next better thing.”Esther Derby, 7 Rules of Positive, Productive Change
Big changes come from small changes. Good thing, since small changes are the ones we can make.
We create the path to where we will be one setpping-stone at a time. The smaller the step, the better.
Find the smallest step you can take that puts you one detectable bit closer to where you want to be — or, to where you have more information to know where you are and how to get where you need to go. Make it specific, so you know when you’re there and it’s time to look around.
Does your site need a redesign? First, improve the help text on a confusing button. Or, add events that show where people are using the interface in an unexpected way.
Small progress is the best progress, and information is also progress.
Landing zones link “near-neighbor states” with long-term desires.Esther Derby, 7 Rules of Positive, Productive Change
The bigger states we’re trying to achieve can be less specific than the landing zones we use day-to-day. They can tell us when it’s good enough, and it’s time reprioritize.
Maybe: 80% of customers who start make it all the way through enrollment.
We may still reprioritize before getting all the way up this mountain, but this gives us a direction to look in for day and week goals.
Esther suggests making a horizon map (sadly, this term does not google well) to get from long-term desires to landing zones. Map backwards from the desire by asking, “What conditions would have to exist for this to be true?” until you get to the current state. Then move forward one step, one landing zone, and check in.
You might achieve a long-term desire. Then what? You pick a new one, based on your organization’s purpose.
Everyone needs a direction to look in for the next mountain to climb. This purpose should not be achievable, because then your organization should close! We need a Quest, an Impossible Dream.
- build better airplanes than the world has ever seen
- help everyone in the world start their own business
- advance systems thinking in software until the whole world works better
(It reminds me of John Cutler‘s North Star, and long-term desires are themes in that framework.)
We need a star over the horizon to point the direction, a long-term desire as a big step in that direction, and many landing zones along the way to detect progress and assess the landscape.
Keep commitment-style goals down to the landing zone level, so that we can keep our heads up and pointed toward our star.