Letting Go &Trusting Others.

The hard part about starting this post is picking which of the many examples to choose from. I think I’ll start with first experiences…

I grew up as a jock in Chicago during the era of Michael Jordan. My freshmen high school coach, Dale Gott, always pointed out the nuances that made Jordan so great: it wasn’t his ability to fly but his ability to create misdirection and make every spot on the floor a threat for him to score. And that if Jordan got any rest on the court it was for a couple seconds on offense: he would walk or jog slightly, get his defender going at a similar pace before switching to short, quick sprints off of picks to free himself for a quick jumper. This tactic gave him his breath and allowed him to work twice as hard on defense.

Jordan’s weakness is my weakness: a fear of trusting in others. Detroit Pistons coach head coach at the time, Chuck Daly, used to have rules based around this weakness: The Jordan Rules. He had his bad boys force Jordan to drive left, double team with the tall guys and then beat the s*** out of him if he got to close, sending him to the line. Daly knew that Jordan would keep coming & knew that even Michael Jordan couldn’t beat his world Champion Detroit team by himself. He also knew that Jordan wouldn’t trust anyone else to take shots in the final minutes of a game. This funnel strategy wore out the super-conditioned Jordan, leaving him bruised & worn at the end of their playoff games & playoff series, and thus leaving Jordan a couple wins short of the NBA Finals.

Daly’s strategy worked for three seasons until Jordan did two things;

  1. gained 15 lbs. of muscle
  2. trusted his teammates with the ball in the closing minutes of a game

These two shifts in thinking helped Chicago not only get past Detroit but, ultimately win 6 world titles in 8 years. Even more notable was the fact that those highlight reels became littered with plays by every player on the Bulls roster and that role-playing shooting guards John Paxson & Steve Kerr were as much remembered for their game winners as was Jordan’s in ’98 vs. Utah

I am having to overcome similar issues.

I hate when I can’t do all the jobs on a project. For Project 03, I hate that I can’t program. I could do the most basic of edits with the helps I online tutorials, but when we’re writing brand new code for brand new applications, my heart goes in my throat because I can’t fix anything right now. I have to trust in Bake & others. Don’t get me wrong, if you have to go to battle, you go with Bake and our crew.

Letting go of the tasks I let go of this week is shocking.

For months we’ve had eager talent ready to lend a hand. Great people. The best of peoples. But I was afraid to let go of what I was doing because it was making a little money. The problem was that the things I should be doing, strategy & project management, weren’t getting done. Everyone is pitching a hand and carving out nooks in the project but they aren’t always using their complimentary skills to finish up areas together. Right now it’s like some of the project has a coat of paint and others area still need priming so none of it looks as market-ready as it really, really is.

So I’ll have to gut out being a little poorer for a little while longer.

We made a couple personal changes so I can finish getting plans, proposals & wireframes together in order to get Project 03 to market or – at worst – speed the s*** out of our own production time.

It’s like they had to pry those responsibilities out of my cold, dead hands, but…

…having been on the other end of this process before I know I have to let them do it their way and trust their judgment. Even if I don’t like the way they go about it. Otherwise, we don’t have the conceptual things done and don’t have a plan for growth. And for the poor soul doing some of the things I was doing, they’ll never be able to fully breathe & grow if I’m constantly substituting their judgment for mine.

No matter how many times we’ve been burned in the past,

we have to trust in the division of labor.

At the end, hopefully we’ll have something beautiful to talk about.

Then I can go back to cross-training on server-side programming.

Maybe.

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