How to make things work – Part 2

This is the second entry in a mini-series addressing the challenge of how to make things work.

My last entry (which was also my first) marked the launch of the aforementioned mini-series. As it was my first-ever Found feature as the newest member to the Found team, I introduced myself and my role (VP of Operations and #FoundFamily elder). And at the end, I left you with two truths to start with:

  1. The problem-solving process is cyclical: understanding fuels action and action informs understanding
  2. Your success in solving a problem depends on your ability to continuously and simultaneously manage both sides of the equation:

look out to adapt to the external look in to modify the internal

In this entry, we will address the first part of this first truth: Understanding.

The troubleshooting process of making things work is cyclical, and it starts with understanding.

To make things work in and for the future, you first need to understand how and why things are working as they are in the present. Attaining this understanding involves three actions:

  1. Immerse
  2. Examine
  3. Assimilate

In this entry, I will explain the first step in the process of understanding: Immerse.

Before you can even begin to understand how to make things work, you first need to understand how things are.

  1. Immerse
    Immerse yourself in things as they are

The New Oxford American Dictionary defines immerse as “involving oneself deeply in a particular activity or interest.” While this definition stands as the desired end state of this first step toward understanding, it is not the sense of the word at the start.

When it comes to its role and relative purpose in the three-step process of understanding, immerse means getting to know things as they are. Figuratively speaking, you are getting your toes wet in the pool of what needs to be understood.

As a step toward understanding, “immerse” doesn’t require anything tangible – you don’t need to submerge yourself in a physical environment. As a word, immerse is more about a state of mind – an approach or method. The goal is to get to know what’s known and to know what’s unknown. Tactically, you start by skimming the surface of all streams of information. Strategically, you must be completely open to everything.

To attain understanding, you must be understanding. Adhere to nonjudgmental and empathetic principles; accept that you don’t decide what’s right or wrong. In getting to know things as they are, you need to accept everything as worthy of being understood. It’s not up to you to decide whether something’s valuable or valueless. Understanding is a process and you’ve barely just begun.

You can apply the immerse step philosophy and principles to understanding [how] anything [works]. But for purposes of example and grounding, I will share some of my own signposts for getting to know things “as they are” at Found.

To make things work on an organizational level when dealing in matters of [business] operations, get to know…

The company — the who, what, when, where and why:
— mission, vision, values
— services, products, partners, clients, competitors
— staff, teams, directors
— “the man”/shotcaller/ company chief (typically president/CEO)
The rest of the company: this means meeting with everyone on the team:
— Basic job descriptions and primary responsibilities of all/each staff
— What they’re doing and how they’re doing it
— Whom to go to for what/who’s responsible for what
— The company chief’s ultimate (guiding) interpretation of everything above, as well as his/her priorities and preferences when it comes to execution.

Before I leave you to start the process of understanding, I will end with a third truth:

There is one thing to understand about understanding:

There is no limit to what you can understand

I look forward to continuing this series in a few more weeks. Please leave me a comment on here or shoot me an email if you have any questions:

Alanna Beckman
Vice President of Operations
Found Media Group

Posted on November 6, 2013 in Alanna

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