Rewinding time and rewording an answer
Have you ever felt the need to rewind time and reword your answer that you gave to a question? A simple question that I got asked today had me feeling this way and unfortunately there isn’t much that I can do about the jumbled answer that I shared with the question asker.
TLDR — I answered an important question in a jumbled way and I’m annoyed with myself for failing to answer it the manner that I know I am capable of.
Damn. I wish I could rewind the clock and answer it in the way I should have. But I can’t rewind the clock a couple of hours so I am turning to writing to explore the answer the I know I should have given. An answer that describes a practice that I follow regularly, yet in the moment I fumbled.
The reality is that certain contexts can sometimes feel like pressure cookers, particularly when a lot is riding on the answers that you provide. Reflecting on this, I am reminded that we are often the ones responsible for creating the pressure cooker like environments. No one else is pushing us to take the path we have crafted for ourselves, if we are fortunate enough to be our own guides we are the ones who hold a high expectation of ourselves.
The question that I got asked today was around Objectives and Key Results (OKRs). More specifically, how would I go about approaching them to critically assess the success and value of a digital product.
My *jumbled* answer — an intelligent use of data and an ongoing assessment at different stages of the consumer journey. Using behavioural feedback that is gathered through different data touch points (like surveys and customer relations queries — I disclaimed that these were “old” approaches”, but used them to show the need for ongoing and revised assessment) at different stages of the journey. The OKRs should ensure that there is constant evaluation and be tied back into the core business objectives, as well as ensuring that the customer is happy with the service that the product provides.
So, what’s wrong with this answer you might ask?
-it’s too long.
-it’s jumbled and all over the place.
-it sounds like I am using buzz words without understanding the meaning of what I am trying to communicate.
-it’s touching on too many points all at the same time without showing how or why any of them are important.
-It does not talk to why the OKRs should be approached in this way and why it will yield value.
-it doesn’t really answer the question and I’ll be honest it’s a lot of nothing.
Yeah, I think you can get the picture and it’s not a pretty one. I completely understand if I left the question asker confused by the response I provided.
As I have mentioned already, I can’t rewind the clock. But I can turn to my writing to share a clearer and more succinct answer. One that I know I am capable of.
Here’s the answer that I should have given.
To establish OKRs I like to be uber clear on what we are trying to solve for and what we will use the results to evaluate. Once we have this clarity, we can then map the objectives to selected data points/nodes within the product flow to give a continuous evaluation of the journey at different stages. Part of this process will also require outline the type of data points that we are looking to capture (performance, product, or behavioural). After we have clear direction, we can then create a system with different channels to obtain the data. The last part is the analysis of the objectives and results. Seeing what we can learn from them, how we can refine the data we’re capturing and what are the things that need to change or what needs to stay the same.
-what are we trying to solve for?
-Have we used our intuition in the way we are thinking about this product design?
-what are we trying to measure and what do we expect the outcome to be?
-what biases might we have when we think about these measures?
-data is important yes, but what data points do we already have access to and have we analysed this?
-do we need to build any new systems to help us capture data to evaluate the results?
-why is all this effort valuable and how will it help our decision process?
-what will we do with the results and how will we create a story with the results?
-how can we access the customer satisfaction in different ways to be sure that we are getting proper feedback? *not the traditional survey method. Think about user intuition and patterns of behaviour that we can analyse from the usage data of the product that we have.
-are we looking for performance, product, or behavioural data?
-have we built in an analysis and refinement process to our thinking?
Breathe. Take a step back and answer the question using a beginner’s mindset. Don’t assume the context you think the answer of the question has. Be clear, succinct, and deliberate in the words you chose.
Default to clarity and clear articulation. Always ask the questions of “what is this supposed to achieve?” and “what haven’t I thought of?”
Sometimes trying too hard means that we miss answering the key part of the question because our thoughts become jumbled. Life is full of lessons and while I let myself down today. I’ll pick myself up and learn from the interaction. It’s another opportunity to show up differently the next time and to grow into the space that I am nurturing through pushing myself to engage in new playgrounds.
Part of the frustration with myself stems from the fact that this is a practice that I use in multiple projects and one that I have worked to refine over the last couple of years.
I’ve got much to give and one’s character is defined by how one responds when one gets knocked down or responds to a learning experience. While I might not own a time machine, I can choose how I learn from the feedback of the moment. Utilising it to be clearer in the ways I word my thinking when I share it with others.
Learning really is a continuous practice.