The difference between failing things and nailing things…

At University one of my favourite things to do was to play football.

The big characters, the big moments and the crusty football socks.

It was great.

Most of the time we played on the University astro-turf pitches.

Now you’d think, as students, they might let us use them for free?

Well, that wasn’t the case.

So, every few days we’d have the problem of coughing up enough cash to book it. Which, for penniless students, was a stumbling block.

footballmdw
(back in the day, 2nd in from the left in case you care).

Sure, everyone could scrape a few quid out of their sofas (along with old pizza) on the day – BUT someone had to actually supply the money up front and book it.

No one really wanted to do that. Our group chats on Whatsapp and Facebook would be full of “who wants to book today?” or “whose turn is it now? I did it last week”.

70% of the time no one would jump at the chance. So we’d either have to really coerce one of the richer kids (or rather one of the guys who could manage their student loan),  or we just wouldn’t play.

You know what the problem was back then? No one was accountable. It was no one’s specific duty to book, so everyone looked to someone else to step up.

We should have had a rota, or at least a plan…but it was just left up to being ‘somebody else’s job’.

It’s amazing how often I see this with real working adults, particularly those who are working on collaborative projects or trying to create things.

If you don’t assign ownership to someone, or make it their responsibility – there’s a high chance that it won’t get done!

Think of it from a sporting point of view. Imagine going out to play a team game and not giving anyone a position.

Sure, you may adapt after a while…but I don’t think you’d win much.

As much as I’m all for free-flow and creativity – structure is structure for a reason. So, next time you’re working on something make sure everyone knows their roles and responsibilities.

The dead project graveyard is massive, and I wonder how many of those projects died due to a lack of structure?

I’ll leave you with this little saying – the more creative things I get involved with, the more relevant it becomes:

This is a story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, 

Anybody, and Nobody.  There was an important job to be done and 

Everybody was asked to do it.  Everybody was sure Somebody would 

do it.  Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.  Somebody 

got angry about that, because it was Everybody's job.  Everybody 

thought Anybody could do it but Nobody realized that Everybody 

wouldn't do it.  It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when 

Nobody did what Anybody could have done.

(http://www.columbia.edu/~sss31/rainbow/whose.job.html)

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