November 11, 2018

Pepper Spray

Measuring the efficiency of a process requires that you first understand what the desired outcome is.

If someone is doing something in a way that you think is inefficient, it might be that they are trying to achieve something different than what you suppose.

For example:

I spend many hours per week practicing martial arts. If you assumed that I did so for the purpose of self-defense, you might say to me something like:

“How horribly inefficient! It’ll take you YEARS to learn to defend yourself adequately against an attacker. Why not just carry pepper spray?”

To me, the suggestion that I should replace karate with pepper spray would be idiotic. My course of action is perfectly optimized to achieve my desired outcome. And that outcome has nothing to do with being able to defend myself.

So here’s the thing...

When you meet with a prospective client, it is critical to understand what their desired outcome is. Otherwise you will very efficiently take them to the wrong place. You will end up doing a lot of work that creates no value.

You can think of it like this:

Don’t start driving the taxi until you know where the person in the back seat wants to end up.