Make it easy on yourself

Posted by Dermot Crowley on 17th August 2021

Like many people in the present circumstances, my partner and I are involved in a Friday night Zoom Trivia gathering to ease the isolation of lockdown. It links us up with our beautiful friends and challenges the grey matter in a healthy way. But the part everyone hates is the scoring.

Over the past few weeks, we would take turns hosting the trivia, and would come up with the questions, and score the results. This part was very stressful for both the hosts and the participants, as each team would have to email their answers in after each round, and the hosts would have to madly mark each answer sheet and call out the rankings. I reckon this makes what should be a bit of fun a real chore.

This was until last week, when my friends Nick and Jackie were hosting. They very cleverly, said ‘Let’s make a change. Everyone can just score themselves after each round, and text us your scores’. Hold on, that’s not the way we do it around here! What if someone cheats? Very discombobulating! But when you think about it, genius. You see, the purpose of the Zoom Trivia is for us to connect and have fun. Sure, someone could cheat with their scores, but then again, someone could just Google the answers off camera if they wanted to. Of course, we won’t, because we don’t take it that seriously.

At one level, this seems so obvious. But for several weeks this year, and for many weeks last year when we also were zooming, it wasn’t. It never occurred to us, probably because this was the way we had always done it.

What do you and your team at work do that makes things harder than they need to be, just because that is the way you have always done it? Could you make things easier? If you are busy, with lots of pressure on your time and energy, this is a great question to ask yourself and your team. In fact, here are a few useful questions that might help:

  • What are we trying to achieve by doing this?
  • What are the critical steps required to achieve that outcome?
  • What if we did not do this at all?
  • What are the steps that cause friction for our team?
  • How could we make this quicker/easier/simpler?
I often talk to people-leaders about the moments of impact in their role. The few things that they do that have real impact for them, their team, their organisation or their clients. Making the time to run your eye over the work you do within your team to see if you could make things easier is a moment of real impact!

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