Brian Rhea Brian Rhea

Doing What's Easy Isn't Being Lazy

You know those situations where you find yourself fighting the same uphill battle over and over again? No matter what you try, you just can’t find a foothold and your best efforts keep being thwarted?

Maybe I should switch to first-person here and confess that I have often found myself fighting the same product management battles over and over again. 😂

I don’t think that’s always the best use of our time and energy. Maybe we’re better off not rehashing that same old argument or insisting that Bradley over on the Design team use Trello the way we’ve documented, emailed, Slack’d, and screenshared. Come on, Bradley, it’s not that hard!

There’s a difference between being lazy and doing what’s easy

The better approach might be to leverage the things that come easy. Not because they’re simple to do and anyone can do them. Not because you’re lazy and unprofessional. But because doubling down on the things that come easy to you that seem hard for everyone else is your sweet spot.

This came up in a conversation with Georgiana Laudi as she was talking about her time as an early employee at Unbounce.

In her situation, she realized that it was a bit of a lost cause to keep spending her energy trying to capture time from the engineering and product teams. In all likelihood, they had their own valid reasons for guarding their time.

When Georgiana realized she had an immensely talented writer hanging out right under her nose, she made that strength a cornerstone in her content marketing efforts and her team reaped the rewards.

Nobody can beat you at being you

I think the encouragement to “be yourself” should be taken to heart at multiple levels: personal, team, and organizational. Maybe it feels a little bit hippie woo-woo to you. If not, you’re already in. Hang tight for a sec while I try to convince the hard-hearted reptiles amongst us.

You know how competitive advantage is an incredible asset in business? You know how accepting your opponents terms of engagement is a rookie move in combat? You know how the best championship teams in any sport are well known for remaining disciplined and playing “their game” regardless of the opponent?

Ok, those are all arguments for “being yourself” that don’t involve flower necklaces, drum circles, and poppy fields. We good? All on the same page?

Leverage your unique strengths

What can you do naturally that others have to practice in order to do well? What do you love to do that others avoid? Find those things and amplify them. Personally, as a team, and as a company and let that be your competitive advantage.

A Few Things I Enjoyed this Week

  1. I dug this article with some killer UI micro-interactions. You especially ought to skim through this puppy if you’re working on a mobile app.

  2. I was reminded this week about this absolutely fantastic video animation of Ira Glass talking about “The Gap.” If you’re doing interesting, challenging, creative work, take a look.

“All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit … You’ve just gotta fight your way through it.”

  1. If you’re in the mood for a casually brooding pop song with an easy going beat and addictive hook, “People Say Things Change” by Air Review needs to get into your air buds.

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