Some Thoughts On: The Chicken Livers

“Don’t order those!” is quite the thing to be told by a restaurant manager – and yet there I was at the 3rd highest rated restaurant in the regional town of Mackay, Australia, being told exactly that. You see, I saw ‘Chicken Livers’ on the menu and I was feeling particularly adventurous.

“They’re the worst thing on the menu. Have you had them before?” – he continues.

“No…” I admit.

“Ok, well go try them somewhere else, and if you like them, then come back and have them here… Personally I don’t like them.”

What a wonderfully refreshing take – this is a man who cares about the customer’s experience enough to openly recommend me away from my choice and towards a tastier option.

Which is the kind of honesty that builds trust.

It also has a secondary bonus: it protects his reputation and ratings. But this type of reputation protection doesn’t just happen in small restaurants in regional towns. Just a couple months ago Uber Eats stripped its app of thousands of ‘online only’ food providers in an attempt to protect their brand & app experience from becoming a bloated mess.

Its also a lens we should keep in mind with our change efforts too. Just a few weeks ago one of my clients was telling me about a project at his site which had a scope that had grown so significantly that the weight of the ‘silver bullet’ threatened to undermine the whole thing. Unfortunately, it’s a story that’s much too common.

Question: Which elements in your project could you slash away to ultimately improve the end experience?

And A Quick Note: Foolish Estimation

It turns out that better estimation may be a fools errand – recent studies from the field of lifting heavy things found that a lifter’s length of experience didn’t significantly improve their estimation accuracy(About a quarter of trainees underestimated their lifting ability by a factor almost 100%). I’ve found the stats from the study to ring true with my own lifting – but with a key caveat: the more experienced I am with a lift, the better I’m able to adapt midway through the set by monitoring the signals that my body is giving me. I can then correct accordingly.

Question: Rather than governing based on initial estimates (i.e., baselines), what would it look like if you governed to promote adaptability instead?

My suggestion here – focus less on managing scope and more on managing progress towards metric targets.

After all, isn’t that what really matters? Who cares how you got there.

Final thoughts

Fun tidbit – I’ve officially flown enough in the last 6 months to upgrade my status levels with both of the main airlines in Australia. While it’s cool to access the perks, a sleep in my own bed is always better.

See you all next week.