Clearing the swarf

Over the last few days I have learned that sometimes the change that most delights a client can be a small one: removing friction in daily handover between support teams by moving it by an hour. If all parties agree it’s a really simple change but has a huge impact on daily lives.

Inspiring continuous improvement within a self organising team can be tricky when everything seems broken. There’s no authority figure to decide for you so how do you choose what to fix first? I’ve found a lot of value in fixing something that happens repeatedly, every day, every increment, every release, every build. This not only improves the thing you’ve fixed, giving back repeated blocks of time, it relieves the grind on cognitive load and morale. This in turn releases more energy to see and then tackle the next set of improvements. Just like clearing the swarf from your workbench to better see the thing you are creating.

Wood carving & shavings – image from

Also this last Friday I learned more about a different kind of grind: micro-aggressions. The company I work for stages weekly showcases by anyone; these regularly bolster a sense of belonging for us consultants scattered among clients the rest of the week. Inclusivity is a big part of our culture so talking about lived experiences from our colleagues is an important theme. It’s opened my eyes to spotting micro-aggressions in new places, in my own life and with others, but learning how to challenge them positively and with compassion was the key lesson. Very few people will intend to be malicious so sharing the impact of a micro aggression can sometimes be enough to help both parties learn, grow and have a better day. In addition, there will be days when I won’t have the spoons to challenge and critically, that’s ok too.