When Can You Optimize For Resilience Over Anything Else?

I’ve been working on my 2020 strategy and tactics. I think further out, but I don’t plan for more than one year at a time. And, I break that down into quarterly and monthly planning. Because things happen. (For more details, see How Often Do You Reflect?)

My yearly plan is a set of options. As I complete one deliverable, I can choose another deliverable. You wouldn’t recognize the plan as a plan. Even my quarterly plan is a smaller set of options. You would only recognize the month plan as a “real” plan.

Because I’m not defining big plans too far in advance, I optimize for resilience.

I don’t optimize for output or speed. I don’t even optimize for adaptability—because I use my adaptable muscles all the time.

Because I optimize for resilience, I can achieve a good output at a reasonable speed. But I optimize for resilience.

(You might want to read What’s the Difference Between Resilience and Adaptability. When we are adaptable, we recognize the situation has changed. Resilience is our ability as humans to take a different step.)

How I Generate Options

I write once a week on this blog. That means I’ve started many possible blog posts. I look at all these starts, decide on one post, and finish it.

I wrote more often on Managing Product Development. Yes, I have many drafts there, too. Assuming I can find a couple of 15-minute timeboxes, I can write and finish a post.

Those are just two ways you see my ability to generate options, experiment, and take a small step. I take more small steps you don’t see, especially in book writing, presentations, or workshops.

What about finishing over starting? I also finish something every single week and publish. In the meantime, I learn from the work that’s “in research.” Yes, that’s how I think of the possibilities.

Because I finish something small and publish, I can see more options. Sometimes, I eliminate some of my “research” posts. I don’t need to finish all of them. I’m not stuck in “how much” thinking.

Notice I’m not optimizing for a specific goal. I’m optimizing for a way to achieve “all” my goals. But, not all the goals at the same time. No one can do it all.

Here’s what’s true for me and I suspect you:

  • I want to accomplish a ton this year.
  • I can’t do it all and some of the deliverables might be in conflict with others.
  • As I complete some of these deliverables, my context changes.

I want to balance my new opportunities with the goals I already knew about.

That’s why I need resilience.

As we achieve specific goals, we learn. We adapt. (See Obliquity: Why Our Goals Are Best Achieved Indirectly to understand the details of why.) If we can take those small steps, we can build our resilience. Resilience, in turn, helps us see more possible changes.

I like having a set of options I can choose.  And, because I finish something each week, I can choose again, every week. For me, that’s resilience.

The question this week: Is when can you optimize for resilience over anything else?

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