first, some celebrations…

There’s loads to celebrate in 2023.

We changed the structure of our monthly newsletter and increased our open rate by 86% in a year. Have a look at this if you haven’t seen any of our mental models.

We celebrated loads of experiments.

We experimented with products for smaller clients – tiny retainers that anyone can afford. But it seemed like they would rather afford a book than a consultant. And so we learn…

We experimented with people – bringing people into our fold who we wanted to work with. We’ve loved the people, but the harsh reality of business is that demand needs to match capacity and capabilities.

We experimented with bringing real long-term change to teams. Not just teaching a skillset but changing a mindset. (Watch this space, we’re not done experimenting yet!)

And we experimented with how we measure success. We stopped counting vanity metrics like the number of people trained and started counting real conversations. The conversations are much less than the trainees, but worth so much more.

but it’s not all celebrations…

Truth be told, this year has been the toughest in a decade for me.

In 2022, our business grew more than 100%. This year, we stagnated.

Last year, we worked with teams in 21 countries. This year… well, we’re not 21 anymore.

We trained 100s of individuals on OKRs last year. This year, it just didn’t seem to fall into place.

Sure, some of these might be vanity metrics, but they are still metrics that show progress.

It makes me wonder: what are we achieving?

And this, combined with challenges in relationships, in family and in health, doesn’t bode well for one’s confidence.

"If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too…"

– Rudyard Kipling

We’ve seen it in teams, and we see it in ourselves. It’s really tough to keep your head when emotions are running high.

So, instead of running on more emotions and celebrations, I’m creating science out of our struggles and banking our learnings.

what we’ve learnt…

Here are 23 learnings from 2023.

No, I’m kidding!

No one would read 23 learnings. So instead, here are my 2 + 3 learnings.

1. Consistency beats speed

  • I started a habit at the beginning of the year to run a minimum of 2km a day. Come rain or shine, 2km. It’s been fascinating to witness how 2km a day turns into thousands over a year.
  • Imagine if we could run our companies this way. If we can do something consistently, every single day. Write a blog post, make three sales calls, compliment a team member.
  • Just do that one thing; do it well; and do it again tomorrow.

2. Slow is smooth; smooth is fast

  • This is a Navy Seals saying that my colleague Nicky introduced me to. Without her knowing, my personal phrase for the year was SLOW DOWN. (I have a word/phrase every year that guides the direction of my journey.) How apt.
  • This year, I took three weeks off to develop content that will help teams execute more effectively. It seemed slow, but it was the best three weeks of the year. I felt a bit like Bill Gates on his annual breakaway in his log cabin surrounded by books!
  • Sure, we haven’t doubled our business in the last 12 months. But slow is smooth, and smooth is fast.

3. “All one can do is the next right thing”

  • This one is from Frozen 2 – gotta love a good old Disney animation.
  • When we’re trying to solve complex problems, and things don’t work out, and we get stuck on our past failures, and our minds run away with us – just do the next right thing.
  • Take the next step. And the next step will lead to the next step. And then you have momentum. And momentum builds momentum.

4. Decouple from outcomes

  • This one is tough to deal with because we started our OKR offering based on outcomes. And I still believe in outcomes, but they are not always right.
  • The biggest revelation was in my “slow down” journey. To find rest, we need freedom. And for freedom, we need to be able to enjoy the journey, and not constantly be coupled to the outcome.
  • Sometimes you need experiments; sometimes, you need habits; and sometimes, you need outcomes. Know the difference.

5. Don’t take life too seriously; you’ll never get out alive

  • If you haven’t seen Grok AI’s fun mode (from Elon Musk and X), this one is for you.
  • Sure, life is serious. We build businesses, grow families, fight for freedom and try to keep our health and wellness intact through it all.
  • But don’t forget to have fun. This was my dad’s last piece of advice to me 11 years ago, and I’m still learning.

Be grateful; be awestruck; be selfless; breathe.

Thanks for the support!

See you in the new year.

If you have questions, we’re always keen for coffee.

Get in touch so that we can brainstorm a few solutions together!

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