Simple Questions, Simple Experiments

burner sign smYesterday I posted about where my focus is, including how my burning questions are changing. For example, instead of asking:

“How can I get people to click on products and buy them?”

I am wondering:

“How can I train myself to click the burner off on the stove when I’m done?” 

This is not an idle question. I put the challenge in a format Toyota Kata author Mike Rother would relate to. (To learn about his method, click here for Mike’s five-question coaching card.)

  1. Target condition – turn the burner off when done cooking every time. (I’ve been trying to establish that habit for decades.)
  2. Actual condition – I left it on 2 mornings in a row.
  3. Obstacle – I get excited about eating and lose focus on the final prep steps.
  4. Next step – track compliance. I expected that would make me conscious enough to remember.
  5. What actually happened – I left it on all night that very night.
  6. What I learned – my effort to get out of Bob’s way when he’s in the kitchen can also be a factor to hurrying the process. Tracking didn’t change things immediately.

An Unexpected Development

I was surprised when Bob added tracking for a habit he is trying to develop to my list. His habit was to fold the wool rug over in the family room at night so the cat doesn’t shred it.

Let me pause to say this delights me! Bob spontaneously joined in on a process I’m working with. That simple act communicated volumes – far more than words could have. It turned my experiment into parallel journeys of discovery.

Progress, Setbacks and New Challenges

Next step – I refined my target condition to turning the burner off before I take any food out of a pan and/or before moving the pan. That target is more tied to the prep process. Not so much anticipation of the joy of eating has crept into my consciousness at that point.

This step might seem obvious and automatic to everyone on the planet who isn’t me, but it was revelatory to me. When I shared the plan with Mike Rother, he replied, “I think turning the burner off before you take food out of the pan and/or before moving the pan is a great idea… deliberately practicing a new pattern.” 

Nothing like an ata-girl from a true pro in innovation!

So far so good 🙂 but Bob forgot to fold the rug last night :- ( much to the cat’s delight 😉 

That reminds me of something else. A huge black bear ate a box of protein bars Bob had left out for a client yesterday. A new challenge to inspire our creativity. He was so cute…

I’m talking about the bear… AND the husband.

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