One thing I’ve found over the years when it comes to implementing continuous improvement or problem solving in our companies is that there is only so much you can design or plan for without jumping in and just doing it and learning as you go.
I was reminded of this as my daughter and I worked on installing a very important feature into her room today.
Well… a zipline for her stuffed animals.
OK, originally it was supposed to be a zipline for her dolls… but it evolved.
It was a fun project. We started with some plastic hangers that she got from her flip flops. From there, I created a few harnesses out of electrical wire to attach to the hangers and hold the passengers.
The nice thing is that there are a few hooks already in her ceiling. So our first prototype was going to go from one of the hooks partway across the room.
I couldn’t find string I was looking for so I used some fishing line.
Then we finally had the harness, the line and the first passengers. Her two dolls.
So, we got the dolls into the harnesses and she raised one up to put it on the line.
We broke the line.
No problem. We learned a few things. First, we’d need lighter passengers. Second, we decided to route the zipline differently for a better route.
Second attempt involved a zipline with a slight slope (though not a ton) and a few stuffed animals.
When we placed the first one on, it only went about a third of the way down the line. You could push it but it still just stopped.
So, I cut it off and found a new place to route the line to. Revision 3.
This time, more out of the way than the first two, better angle and lighter passengers. We got a few strapped in and I let my daughter place the first one on the line. It zoomed down the line with flair and we both smiled.
This was it. It took us a few iterations but we got it.
The thing is, we never would have gotten to that point without actually just getting in there and trying things out.
So, if you or your team find yourself stuck on a project or issue this week, be willing to stop planning or meeting or discussing and just try something. There is a momentum that only comes when you jump in and explore.
And often, you save yourself a ton of time because you find something out that changes the whole equation. For us, it was the weight of the dolls. We could have spent so much time customizing our harness and the zipline to be exactly for the dolls and then later found out that they were just too heavy.
Instead, we found out at the beginning and were able to shift our focus.
Hope this helps you and your team this week. And if you’re up for it, look for ways to add a zipline to your office while you’re at it.
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