Building Shared Understanding Is Hard
John Cutler

Hi John, love your contributions — keep up the great work.

I’m curious about your thoughts on this: Building shared understanding is hard, definitely agree. It’s required for good work too, no doubt.

Question for me is, where’s the line? Is someone spending a big chunk of their time building shared understanding really a good thing? (most middle managers fall in this category).

Or is it instead, here’s a thought, a process fix to a values problem?

Everyone is an information worker until there’s too much information.

Then they want reports, and reports on reports so they make decisions. And what’s worse, since there’s no way to capture a situation into a report without leaving out parts, then decisions are made based on incomplete information and work in progress. That’s when infighting begins. That’s also what leads teams to want crazy things like estimates and big up front plans, when most of the work is exploration work, i.e known unknowns.

What if, instead, we value immersion. Some example tactics of this value are reading is work (push vs pull information), participation is work (i.e don’t wait for someone to ask your opinion) and pairing with others to promote knowledge transfer.

Do you see it differently? Where’s the line?

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