Strategy & Flying in Formation

It was a solitary walk this afternoon, under an overcast sky today, listening to Brene Brown & her sister Barett Guillen riff on the subject of feedback. I stopped to take a picture here. The tide was in, the skies looked ominous, and lots of people were out, despite the lockdown restrictions loosening from next Monday onwards. We (me too!) clearly can’t wait to socialise!


Anyway, the podcast conversation between the sisters was riveting. Two things stood out for me:

  1. The analogy that BB uses when describing how she moves between strategy and operations, “balcony” and “dance floor” as the third space, or “the stairs”. You’re either watching the dance from the balcony, or are in the weeds of execution on the dance floor. You learn to move from one to the other, and help others do the same.
  2. The ‘move’ happens not by jumping from the balcony to the dance floor & then worrying how to get back to the top – instead walk down a 5 step staircase, one step at a time.
    (& I her admission while she was describing this to BG that she feels like she’s never actually explained it that way to her team! Yes, she’s used this the context of “paint-done” but not in this context of thinking at different levels)
    The 5 C steps: Color: Physically, what does this look like? Is this an email, a direct mail piece? Do we want just copy or images too?
    Context: Why are we doing this? How does it fit into the company’s mission? Goals? Strategy?
    Connective Tissue:
    When is this due and what other actions, deadlines and initiatives are reliant on this? What other pieces should we model this after to ensure consistency?
    : How much should this cost to complete?
    Consequence:  What happens if this isn’t completed on time?


While I was listening to the podcast, I observed this pattern that the birds seemed to follow, not just the V formation but the way they flew in a wave-like manner. I’ve never noticed that before.