To keep our cash-flow on the rails we must keep our conversation-flow on the rails. If our conversation-flow derails in the present, our cash-flow derails in the future. To change the trajectory of our cash-flow in the future we must change the trajectory our conversation-flow in the present.
I call it C2C: Conversation-Flow to Cash-Flow.
Yes, conversation becomes cash! If we don’t like our cash-flow in the present (and I bet some of you don’t) look at our conversation-flow in the past. It is what brought us here. Have we be talking about the right stuff? If we want our cash-flow to be better in the future, look at our conversation-flow in the present. It is what takes us there. Are we talking about the right stuff? If we want our cash-flow to be on a breakthrough trajectory in the future then our conversation-flow will have to go there first because, where our conversation-flow goes our cash-flow will follow, it’s just a matter of time. Conversation becomes cash.
By conversation, I don’t mean we just sit around and have a talking shop. That would not be agile! My definition of conversation-flow is the unfolding flow of how we link and accumulate TQDA:
- T: Thoughts (the individual thoughts that we have, or don’t have)
- Driving the right flow of thinking, covering our full agenda to assure the sustained success of our business – if there are any deficits of attention or intention, bad stuff can happen.
- Q: Questions (the individual questions that we ask, or don’t ask)
- Driving the right flow of questions, exploring the breadth and depth of issues we face, and asking some safety net questions like, “what are we missing,” what are we not thinking about.
- D: Decisions (the individual decisions that we make, or don’t make)
- Driving the right flow of decisions, making the right decisions at the right time, not too soon and not too late, not too big and not too small.
- A: Actions (the individual actions that we take, or don’t take)
- Driving the right flow of actions, and re-thinking, re-questioning, re-deciding and re-acting on-the-fly to make adjustments according to what we are learning as we go.
Notice that actions are part of my definition of conversation-flow. Actions are a conversation with reality, which is talking to you with plenty of feedback about what’s working and what’s not working. The only question is, are you looking and are you listening? Or are you a little asleep at the wheel? This singular point, that actions are a part of the conversation, is central to an agile-mindset. Read more:
- The C2C of AGILE Teamwork (from Conversation-Flow 2 Cash-Flow)
- Agile Teamwork – How do you Build Agile Teams?
- Waterfall vs Agile
What is critical is the unfolding flow of TQDA, divergently and convergently, all at the same time, linking and accumulating into the trajectory of conversation-flow which your cash-flow will follow, flowing with simultaneous Divergence and Convergence which is crucial:
- Divergence is about divergent avenues of thinking, questions, decision and actions. Within that divergence, convergence is about a convergent coming together of our thinking, questions, decisions and actions, towards achieving our goals. Divergence is inclusive of other familiar terms, such as brain-storming, green-light thinking and creative thinking, but there is more to it than that.
- Convergence includes goal-orientation, attention-to-detail and driving things to completion, but there is more to it than that.
There is more to it than that. In his 2001 book, Reframing Business, Richard Normann, puts it well, saying:
“Every true renewal process takes place in stages (not necessarily sequential but often better described as modes of thinking and acting) characterized by the generation of new diversity and information [divergence], and then stages of reduction of it and focus on certain types of action [convergence]. A successful organization must learn to live in both these modes [divergence and convergence]. We must open up [divergence], relative to where we are now, but at some stage we also need to close in and focus and make choices [convergence]. Business and other Institutions today have to be very skilled at conceptualizing. Today’s free flow of information needs to be transformed into unique concepts and frameworks which then focalize action. Action orientation and conceptual thinking are two sides of the same coin [Divergence and Convergence]. One of the most common errors– I am tempted to say tragedies – I see in business and other organizations is giving in to the pressure of premature closure [convergence] . If you have not opened up first [divergence], there is very little to close in on to. If choice [convergence] has not been preceded by enough generation of diversity to create many options [divergence] , and with generation of real tension with the present, it is a pseudo-exercise, a ritual of little consequence. We will be faced with an organization which has not realized its opportunities.”
That’s one of the Secrets of Agile-Decision-Making, simultaneous Divergence and Convergence. There are more secrets:
- Agile Decision Making – How do I Know If and When to Trust My Gut?
- More to come (under construction)
- More to come (under construction)
The key is to diagnose and treat our flow of conversation to cash for the agility required.