Start before you are ready

In Steven Pressfield’s book, Do the Work, he writes, “Start before you’re ready”. The book is about the resistance an artist feels when they are creating something new to bring into the world. Seth Godin says that:

“Art isn’t only a painting. Art is anything that’s creative, passionate, and personal. […] But there are artists who work with numbers, business models, and customer conversations. Art is about intent and communication, not substances.”

Change is art. Organisational transformation is art.

When Pressfield says, “start before you’re ready” he means you mustn’t wait before you have the whole plot for a novel, the whole idea for a painting or the whole story for a movie. When we are changing systems that serve the public, that means that none of these are excuses for not starting right now:

  • not having the right team
  • not having money
  • it’s the wring time of year (e.g. budget time)
  • “they” won’t let me
  • I might fail / succeed
  • I don’t know what do do first
  • I don’t know enough about [insert favourite improvement fad e.g. lean / systems thinking / six sigma etc.]

No one who ever did anything worthwhile ever had enough permission or resources. And it was never the right time.

The thing to do when wanting to improve service to the customer is to ask, “What is important to the people I serve?”, then “What idea do I already have that I can test?” Then go and test it. Learn from it and implement what you learn.

Don’t wait for permission or more of anything. They won’t come.

There is something you can do now that will improve things and all you need to do is do it. Once the first one is done, the second comes much more easily.



P.S. If there is anything else that is stopping you improving service to the public then leave a comment below. Or let me know your idea that you could test.

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