I blogged a few weeks ago on what Taco Bell teaches us about how to define and manage your next actions. Here’s another lesson from Taco Bell.
When you get up to the cash register (whether at Taco Bell or any fast food restaurant), it is interesting to note that the person taking your order and the person making your food are different.
Why is that relevant? Because if the same person had to do both, it would slow everything down. You would have to wait twice as long to get your food (probably longer, due to the costs of switch tasking), and the line would grow — frustrating everyone.
Here’s the problem: When it comes to productivity, most of us are both cashier and chef. We both have to receive and process the new input (cashier) and produce the results (chef). The time spent capturing and processing new input takes time away from delivering results. Sometimes, this can be substantial.
In fact, the amount of time that processing new input takes away from delivering results is larger than simply the time it takes to do the processing. The switch in mindsets from handling new stuff to focusing on delivering results creates a cost of its own. This can be minimized by making sure that you process new input in batches rather than continuously throughout the day. But it cannot be removed entirely.
What’s the solution? Unfortunately, I don’t have a complete one yet. There may not be one. Proper use of an assistant, for those fortunate enough to have one, is part of the answer but cannot solve the whole story. Batching the processing task is another, but again that is not a complete solution. Having an effective system in place and being efficient with it is a third component. But again, none of these totally solve the issue: the time (and energy — that’s huge) that you have to deliver results is decreased by the amount of time that you have to spend processing new input.
Maybe a skillful application of these three partial solutions is the best we can do. What are your thoughts?
In the meantime, if you need inspiration, just take a trip to Taco Bell.
This is an interesting use of Jott I’ve just discovered, and which got me to sign up for their paid monthly plan (Jott used to be free, but now it isn’t).
Here’s a summary of what Jott is: Jott allows you to call a number to leave a note for yourself. The system then converts the message to text and emails it to you. You can then read your message in the email, or click to listen to it from the email as well. It is a good “capture” tool for when you are on the go or not in a place where you could write something down or enter it directly into your computer.
Jott also allows you to add additional people, so that instead of just being able to jott yourself, you can also jott the people you add. So, for example, if you have an assistant you can jott that person various to-do items that come up during the day, and she/he will receive them by email.
Now, following from that, here is the interesting use: You don’t have to limit your thinking with it to simply sending yourself and others to-do items. You can also use it as a simple and convenient method for sending just regular emails, without having to type them in your email client. This can be useful when you’re on the go, but more than that can be a way to save time — instead of writing out an email, you can just speak it into Jott and let Jott do the rest.
Another benefit is this: As I discuss elsewhere, I recommend that when you are giving focused time to a project, you focus on that project entirely and shut down your email. But sometimes, the course of your work on the project will require you to send an email — which means you’ll be opening up your email client and risk getting side tracked into handling all of your email when you intent was just to send one. Jott is a solution to this: you can now still send that email, without having to open up your email program at all.
One nuance: It could turn out to be the case that people don’t generally like receiving “voice to text” emails (although the transcription is really good, and the ability to listen may add a good personal touch). If so, then it might be good to limit this use simply to your immediate team members where everyone sees and likes the efficiency this creates for the common workflow.
OK, two nuances: Since this makes it even easier to send email, it’s possible that the result could easily be that you begin sending out an even greater proliferation of email. So it would be a good idea to be aware of that so that you don’t end up sending more email simply because it’s easier.
Yesterday I blogged on the six benefits of defining the “why” on a project that are discussed in Getting Things Done. One of those benefits was “it clarifies focus.” Here is more that Allen had to say on that:
When you land on the real purpose for anything you’re doing, it makes things clearer. Just taking two minutes and writing out your primary reason for doing something invariably creates an increased sharpness of vision, much like bringing a telescope into focus. Frequently, projects and situations that have begun to feel scattered and blurred grow clearer when someone brings it back home by asking, “What are we really trying to accomplish here?” (p. 65)
Every store should do this: allocate some spaces close to the entrance for families with young children and, by extension, expecting mothers.
I will at some point (soon, though defined somewhat loosely) blog somewhat comprehensively and in detail about how I have my planning system setup.
In the meantime, I was talking about OmniFocus with a friend today and out of that conversation came a screen shot that captures the “big picture” of how I have it set up. I thought that some of you who use OmniFocus (or are considering it) might be interested.
In fact, this this is relevant beyond OmniFocus as well. I recommend setting up any planning system in this way, no matter what tool you use. This is how I did things in Outlook previously and, before that, did a variation of this with my paper planner.
Here is the screen shot:
As we mentioned the other day, the first step in the natural planning model is to “define purpose and principles.” Defining your purpose is basically asking the “why?” question. “Why are we doing this? What are we seeking to bring about through this?”
Why is it so important to ask the “why” question on your projects? Getting Things Done discusses six benefits:
- It defines success
- It creates decision-making criteria
- It aligns resources
- It motivates
- It clarifies focus
- It expands options
As Allen writes, “almost anything you’re currently doing can be enhanced and even galvanized by more scrutiny at the top level of focus.” That probably seems pretty evident to most of us.
The problem is that, although this is common sense, it is not commonly practiced:
I admit it: this is nothing but advanced common sense. To know and be clear about the purpose of any activity are prime directives for clarity, creative development, and cooperation. But it’s common sense that’s not commonly practiced, simply because it’s so easy for us to create things, get caught up in the form of what we’ve created, and let our connection with our real primary intentions slip.
The challenge, then, is to practice what we know. Don’t let solid common sense about managing your projects just sit on the shelf. Make it your common practice.
We ended up taking the stairs.
We’ve been dealing with hanging art at our house because of having just moved.
This is a corollary of productivity because it pertains to designing your wider environment effectively. You want your computer working effectively for you, your workspace working effectively, and then moving out from that, it makes sense to continue applying good principles to the rest of your work area and home.
Here are some helpful tips that came my way from art.com:
- Map your art first
- Hang art at eye level
- Group art to create unity
- Keep art in harmony with furniture
- Formal or casual?
You can read more details in the full article.
Good article the other day by Thomas Sowell on the financial crisis. He begins:
From television specials to newspaper editorials, the media are pushing the idea that current economic problems were caused by the market and that only the government can rescue us.
What was lacking in the housing market, they say, was government regulation of the market’s “greed.” That makes great moral melodrama, but it turns the facts upside down.
It was precisely government intervention which turned a thriving industry into a basket case.
The Natural Planning Model
The natural planning model can be summarized in five steps:
- Defining purpose and principles
- Outcome visioning
- Identifying next actions
The purpose is the “why.” Principles are the standards and boundaries of your plan. Outcome visioning clarifies the “what.” Brainstorming generates the “how.” Organizing puts it all together in a manageable form. And identifying next actions gets you going.
As David Allen writes, “these five phases of project planning occur naturally for everything you accomplish during the day” (Getting Things Done, 58). However, when most people go about formally planning something, they end up doing the opposite — what Allen calls the unnatural planning model.
The Unnatural Planning Model
In the unnatural planning model, you try to come up with a “good idea” on this or that issue before defining purpose and vision. This almost always creates more ambiguity and increased stress because it is artificial and unnatural. And since this is most people’s typical experience with planning, they prefer not to plan at all.
(Or, as Allen discusses, they create the plan “after the fact” just to please those who want to see a plan — like in elementary school when you’d create the outline to your paper after writing the paper.)
The Reactive Planning Model
But Allen points out that the result of not planning is often crises. When this happens, urgency takes over and people decide to plan after all. But in this case, they reverse the natural planning model and slide into the reactive planning model. So instead of defining purpose and principles first, you hear a “call to action” first — to work harder, get more people on things, get busier.
Instead of resolving things, that usually just creates a mess. So someone says “hey, let’s get organized.” When this doesn’t solve the problem, someone then says “let’s brainstorm.” So everyone gets gathered into a room and the leader says “who has a good idea here?” When not much happens, finally someone asks “so, what are we trying to do here again?” — which gets to vision and purpose.
“The reactive style is the reverse of the natural planning model. It will always come back to top-down focus. It’s not a matter of whether the natural planning model will be done — just when, and at what cost” (p. 62).
Save yourself and your organization time and frustration. Start with the natural planning model!
Along with Getting Things Done, one of the most helpful books I’ve read on productivity is a book called To Do, Doing, Done: A Creative Approach to Managing Projects and Effectively Finishing What Matters Most. I actually read both of them at about the same time back when I was first getting into GTD, and To Do, Doing, Done helped created a more complete picture for me.
The book was written in 1997 and, when it gets into the logistics of things, reflects paper-based practices. However, the principles behind those practices are easily transferable to electronic systems, so it remains insightful.
The most helpful take away for me from the book was how to tie your project plans to your day-to-day actions. Getting Things Done also talks about this, of course, but didn’t go into as much detail. This book provided a complementary perspective that yielded some additional useful insights.
The authors of the book are also coming from the 7 Habits perspective which emphasizes keeping our projects tied to higher level goals and values. This emphasis on the higher levels, along with discussion of how to use your priorities at those levels to choose the right projects, helped to provide an integrated picture.
Last of all, the book simply has some good advice on managing projects in general — something that is relevant to most of us, no matter what we are doing. What they wrote in the introduction is still true today:
In our increasingly demanding world, the people who succeed will be the ones who can initiate, manage, and complete challenging projects. They will be the ones who know how to create a vision that engages everyone involved in the project. They will be able to define expected results; delegate responsibility; break the project down into bite-sized tasks; develop achievable schedules; communicate concisely, clearly, and rapidly; adjust quickly to changes; monitor progress; and accept nothing short of project success.
While I’m not recommending adoption of their approach wholesale, it is a very helpful read for those who are looking for additional insight and tools to pick up and then integrate into their own approach.
I once heard David Allen say, “Sometimes people tell me that they don’t have a physical inbox. To which my response is: ‘Yes you do — that just means your whole house is your inbox.’”
It might be tempting these days to conclude that you don’t need to have any physical-based processing tools, since so much comes through digital channels. But inboxes are not just for email.
In spite of all the digital input we receive, there is still a steady stream of real physical input that also comes our way. For example, there is the regular mail, things your kids bring home from school, notes you jot down to yourself when it isn’t convenient to enter them into your electronic system right away, and so forth.
So it is a fact of reality that we have a bunch of incoming physical “stuff” that can be just as constant (although perhaps less in volume) as electronic input. This stuff, therefore, needs to be gathered and collected into a single spot — that is, an inbox — on a regular basis. If you don’t do this, it’s not as though you will be able to brag that you “don’t have a physical inbox.” Instead, what will happen is that your whole desk, your whole office, your whole house will become your inbox.
And the problem with that is this: It makes it hard to distinguish what is unprocessed from what is already where it should be. The result is that you will never have a sense of closure about what needs to be dealt with and what doesn’t, and things can easily fall through the cracks. You will start to drown in a sea of unprocessed stuff.
You need to gather all open loops into one spot, rather than letting them hang around all over. Which is the definition of an inbox.
Here’s an easy example of what this looks like in practice: When you get the mail, don’t just toss it on a counter somewhere, or your desk somewhere, to deal with “when you get to it.” Have an inbox, and put it in there.
Here’s a more advanced example: The other day we finally got a new digital camera (our old one broke after 5 excellent years of service). When I got home with all the packages (the actual camera, plus memory, camera bag etc.) but couldn’t deal with them right away, I didn’t just set them down somewhere to deal with when I get the chance. Rather, I put them into my inbox, then hung out with my kids.
Here’s one more example: Let’s say I need a new hammer, and my wife buys me one when she’s at the store. When she gets home, she doesn’t just put it on some shelf in the garage, trusting me to “notice” at some point that there is something new and out of place in there. Instead, she puts it in my inbox. That way I don’t need to notice or remember that there’s a new hammer out there in the garage that I need to put away at some point. Instead, I can just process it right along with everything else when doing my inbox.
It would be easy to say, “well, just setting a few camera boxes or a hammer down anywhere is no big deal.” Well, right. But if you do that every time, pretty soon you end up with a house (or desk) littered with “stuff to figure out what to do with.” Be diligent. Put stuff in your inbox and it won’t build up all over your desk (or house). The lack of an inbox — or an understanding of how to use them — is the single biggest reason desks get messy and rooms (like offices, garages, and so forth) get disorganized.
So now we’ve talked about why you should have a physical inbox. For details on how to process your inbox, see these posts:
Last of all, here’s a useful point worth emphasizing: As you can see from the examples above, your inbox is not just something for other people to put stuff in. I put far more things in my own inbox than anyone else, which is as it should be.
The latest Gallup Management Journal has an article by the authors of Strengths-Based Leadership discussing what makes a great leadership team.
The article states:
One of the core principles of strengths management is that people don’t need to be well-rounded to succeed. It helps, however, if teams are well-rounded, say the authors of Strengths Based Leadership.
It then discusses the four domains of strength that each leadership team needs: executing, influencing, relationship building, and strategic thinking.
Also in the latest Gallup Management Journal is an interview with Roy Spence called Your Company’s Purpose Matters Now. Its point is that “in this rough economic climate, it’s more critical than ever that you and your customers know why your company is in business.”
Here are a few excerpts:
Purpose is not just a crucial differentiator; it’s the strategic structure that pulls companies through the worst of times. Companies should determine their purpose — “a definitive statement about the difference you are trying to make in the world,” Spence says — then craft their leadership, management, operations, strategy, and tactics to further that purpose. What’s more, a purpose-based approach simplifies many difficult decisions and makes an uncertain future easier to navigate. …
While everyone in corporate America is cutting costs and trying to stimulate new revenues, organizations that have a clear purpose won’t be looking for silver bullets or grasping at straws or just cutting cost with no clear focus. Instead, they will have more clarity in their cuts and more certainty on how to stimulate revenues. For example, though Wal-Mart and Southwest Airlines are going through this economic Armageddon like everyone else, they know that all cuts in cost must translate into lower prices so people can live better or into lower airfares so more people can go and see and do things. These are not just cuts for their own sake.
The article has a helpful illustration from Southwest Airlines of the centrality of purpose to creating real value for people.
I know it can be iffy to compare ordinary mail to email. But, here goes.
Before delivering the mail on any given day, one of the first thing the Post Office does is sort it. Each address’s mail gets grouped together so that it can be delivered in order.
But imagine what would happen if, when the postal worker was out the door and half way to your house, they called him back and said “Oh, new mail just arrived for Fred Smith! Come back and get it so you can add it to your pile!” Since new mail is always arriving, the poor postal worker would never get to actually delivering any of the mail.
There is much wisdom in batching things. Things that make it into the batch get done with the batch. Things that arrive during or after, get done in the next batch — not added into the current batch right away.
Here’s the interesting thing: In the scenario above where the postal worker continually goes back to get the new mail, it’s not as though the mail volume is any higher. He’s not prevented from actually delivering the mail by the fact that there is “so much.” He’s prevented by his process; by his approach. In the batched approach, there is just as much mail. It just happens to actually get delivered.
I realize that there are limitations to this. But the general principle is very useful. If you check your email continually, you’ll never make progress on the other work that you have to do — or on the tasks that your email has generated which have to be done outside of email.
Is “never” an overstatement? Well, a bit. But you get the point.
Web Worker Daily has some strategies on how to work at home without letting work take over all of your time.
(HT: Vitamin Z)
Peter Ferrara had an excellent article in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal contrasting Reagan’s and Obama’s economic policies. Here are the key points of the article.
In his inaugural address, President Barack Obama said, “The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works — whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified.”…
Unfortunately, this rhetoric is not true. Mr. Obama’s economic policy is following not what has been proven to work but liberal ideology.
The best way to understand this is to compare what’s being proposed now with what Ronald Reagan accomplished.
The four components of Reagan’s economic plan were:
- “Across-the-board reductions in tax rates to provide incentives for saving, investment, entrepreneurship and work.”
- “Deregulation to remove unnecessary costs on the economy.”
- “The control of government spending.” (Nondefense discretionary spending was down 14.4% in 1988 compared to 1981 when Reagan took office.)
- “Tight, anti-inflation monetary policy.”
The results of Reagan’s economic policy were remarkable. His policy worked. And this shouldn’t be a surprise to those familiar with the basic principles of economics. Ferrara states:
We know such policies work because they turned around in just two years an economy far worse than today’s. We were suffering from multiyear, double-digit inflation, double-digit unemployment, double-digit interest rates, declining incomes, and rising poverty. In fact, what we suffer with today is not the worst economy since the Great Depression, but the worst economy since Jimmy Carter — the last time liberals were dominant politically and intellectually.
But what is Obama’s plan?
The Obama administration’s economic policies do not include any of the four Reagan components. In fact, the stimulus plan is the greatest increase in government spending in the history of the planet. Meanwhile, the Fed is furiously reinflating, sowing more havoc down the line. Mr. Obama is still promising future increases in tax rates by letting the Bush tax cuts lapse, because for ideological reasons he thinks even current rates are too low. And instead of deregulating for more energy production, he is still promising massive increases in regulatory barriers — through global warming cap-and-trade legislation — to increased production from proven energy sources to serve an extreme environmentalist ideology.
What is the current result of Obama’s plan?
This is why America seems so hopeless right now, and so depressed. We are stuck going in exactly the wrong direction on economic policy because of currently dominant ideological fashions.
What will the longer-term results of Obama’s plan be?
A natural economic recovery will begin sometime this year, not because of the president’s policies, but because soon this will be the longest recession since World War II. However, thanks to the administration’s retrograde policies — cut from the cloth of the 1970s and even the 1930s — the recovery will not be what it should be. Rather, unemployment will remain too high, and inflation will resurge, recreating the disastrous economic results we suffered the last time Keynesian policies were dominant.
(HT: Justin Taylor)
Creativity Online has a helpful and engaging interview with some folks on where creativity stands and the role it can play during these challenging economic times. Here are three key excerpts:
Sure, times are tough, but history has shown that recessions can lead to innovation and enlightened ways of thinking. Here, creatives reflect on opportunities to be mined on the tough road ahead. Additionally, we present some of the most brilliant breakthroughs to come out during financial slumps.
The campaigns that I am most proud of had little or no budget. When you have no money, the idea has to be fantastic.
Lots of marketers will be under pressure to reduce their budgets. Now, that’s not a great idea because, as The Economist and many others have pointed out: (a) you still have to sell into a down economy (probably harder) and (b) if the competition is pulling back it’s an opportunity to take more of the conversation. But let’s take budget pressure as a reality. You’re a big marketer and you can spend $3 million dollars on 30 seconds in the season finale of Lost. Or you can spend $1.5 million doing something digital that provides conversation value, social value, function. You can do something as or more effective with a lot less money, because digital doesn’t usually carry the same cost of production process and bloat that big splash TV does. That doesn’t mean that spending half as much online makes you twice as smart. You have to use that half of your budget thoughtfully. That’s where creativity and innovation comes in.
CJ Mahaney has recently interviewed John Piper and Wayne Grudem. One of the questions in each of the interviews was “What single bit of counsel has made the most significant difference in your effective use of time?”
Here is John Piper’s answer:
A great tree will fall with many small chops. Pray for daily grace to keep chopping.
Here is Wayne Grudem’s answer:
What single bit of counsel has made the most significant difference in your effective use of time?
I find the most helpful thing I do regarding use of time is to spend time in prayer each morning bringing my plans and my “to do” list before the Lord and seeking his direction.
As far as human advice and counsel, I have found the system described in Getting Things Done by David Allen to be very helpful—I am just now rereading that to try to get all of my “in box” items back under control again and listed in one place, and then processed. I should add that I find effective use of time to be a continual challenge and I keep making small modifications here and there.
I would also like to say this to you, C.J.: You probably remember that I have talked with you numerous times about how to decide on what things to schedule, how to set priorities, and other questions about wisdom in time management, and your suggestions have always been very helpful!
Several verses of Scripture also have influenced me in this regard. Paul said, “It is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy (or “faithful,” Greek pistos)” (1 Corinthians 4:2) and that has made me seek to be faithful to God in the way I use all of my time.
Let’s say that you are working at your home in an office or other room designated for doing some work. You realize that tomorrow is garbage day. So you empty your trash sitting beside you, go through the rest of the house and do the same, and then sit back down to work.
You jot some notes down on a piece of paper and decide you don’t need them. So you throw the paper away, into the trash can you just emptied. Do you then empty the trash can again right away? Nobody would do that. You’d never get anything done. Instead, you let the trash collect, and then empty it again at a designated time in about a week.
Yet, when it comes to email, many of us insist on “taking out the trash” continually. This amounts to a continual interruption. You wouldn’t take the trash out every time you throw something away. Likewise, don’t check your email every time something new comes in. Best of all, shut it down between those times if possible, or at least minimize the window and turn off the bell.
(Nuance: I know that there are occassions when it does pay off to keep processing new messages right away, such as when you are in the middle of a conversation thread with some folks. But I’m saying: Don’t make continual checking your ongoing, default, general mode of opeation.)
Alex Chediak has written a very helpful article on negotiation which has just been posted at Boundless. Alex points out that the goal is to pursue a win-win agreement — that is, two winners, and no losers. This means that we should pursue principled negotiation rather than positional negotiation.
Here are his four main points:
- Separate the people from the problem.
- Negotiation on the basis of objective merits, not subjective preferences.
- Brainstorm creatively to identify mutually beneficial solutions.
- Know when to walk away.
A helpful source for the article was the book Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In, which I highly recommend. If you read one book on negotiation, that’s the book to read.
And, with this, remember that negotiation is not only a “big event” that happens only once in a while, such as when you buy a car or a house. These principles are relevant every day in many different ways. And we are often participating in “mini-negotiations” throughout the day without even knowing it.
Excellent thoughts today from Seth Godin. In an era where all the highlights from everything are so easily available, it can be very, very easy to forget this:
The top of a mountain is rarely the best part.
You can watch “the good parts” of a baseball game in about six minutes. The web has become a giant highlights reel… the best parts of SNL, the best parts of a speech, the best parts of a book.
We can skim really fast now. This is a problem for marketers, because it means that if they don’t make the good parts easily findable and accessible (and bold and loud and memorable) then the whole product becomes invisible.
As consumers of information, though, I wonder if the best parts are really the best parts. Yes, you can read a summary of a book instead of a book, or watch the trailer instead of the movie, or read the executive summary of the consultant’s report instead of the whole thing… but the parts you miss are there for a reason.
Real change is rarely caused by the good parts. Real change and impact and joy come from the foundation and the transitions and the little messages that sneak in when you least expect them. The highlights of the baseball game are highlights largely because the rest of the game got you ready for them.
Don’t skip that page, it’s there for a reason.
One more thought: In his management book First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently, Marcus Buckingham talks about how there are several stages to building an excellent work environment. Here’s what’s interesting: you can’t just skip to the final stage. If you do, you will fail. The stages leading up to that are the necessary preparation.
Mountain climbers know this well. As Buckingham states: “To reach the summit you have to pay your dues — if you just helicopter to camp 3 and rise to the summit, experienced guides know you will never make it. Mountain sickness will sap your energy and slow your progress to a crawl.”
The same is true with information and most things in life: If all we ever seek out and engage with are the highlights, the end result is going to be mountain sickness.
Here’s why that is a good vision:
- It’s simple.
- It’s clear.
- It takes things all the way: “every book ever printed in any language.” Yes! It’s not “most books” or “95% of books.” To be remarkable, you have to be bold and go the full distance. 95% does not inspire. But 100% — that’s amazing.
- Its fulfillment would be a tremendous service to the world.
Now, here’s something not so great:
Some publishers and agents expressed concern over a new, experimental feature that reads text aloud with a computer-generated voice.
“They don’t have the right to read a book out loud,” said Paul Aiken, executive director of the Authors Guild. “That’s an audio right, which is derivative under copyright law.”
Here we have a recommendation that the kibosh be put on a really great idea because “they don’t have the right to read a book out loud.” This is another example of how innovation is stifled and how good ideas get killed. Sure, there may be issues, but let’s figure them out. Let’s not point to process and say “well, this shouldn’t be done.”
What about the copyright law, though?
An Amazon spokesman noted the text-reading feature depends on text-to-speech technology, and that listeners won’t confuse it with the audiobook experience. Amazon owns Audible, a leading audiobook provider.
Wouldn’t it be interesting if the Kindle, or a device like it, could by means of this audio feature bring great access to books into societies with currently low literacy rates? In other words, such a device could perhaps make it possible for those who can’t read to still “read” some great books by listening to them via the text-to-speech technology. And what if everyone was given one?
Someone could say “well, you would run into problems with recharging those devices because electricity would probably not be reliable or available, and beyond that if the literacy rate is this low, probably food and water are higher priorities. Also, people just might not be interested in that.”
Well, good points. But the way forward is not to then stop and give up on the idea (whether this one or any other), but figure out if there is a way to do it which overcomes the obstacles. Maybe not. But don’t kill ideas too early. At the very least, exploring them could lead to something different, more workable — and better.