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Move by Patty Azzarello

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Chapter 17Burn the Ships at the BeachHow to Keep Moving Forward When No One Wants To

What Everyone Is Thinking

Can we please stop doing this? I don't see the benefit. It's not working. In fact, it's harming the business. We need to go back to the old way!

I've said it before and I'll keep saying it. The Middle is long. This long amount of time allows for so many opportunities for people to question the strategy and the tactics, and to pick apart pretty much anything you are trying to change. The new stuff is hard, and may in some ways be unpleasant. People's favorite projects might have been canceled or delayed. New skills are required. The payoff is not obvious yet. People want to go back to the old way, because the old way is familiar. It's comfortable. It's easier: “This new thing…well…it just isn't working.”

“Burn the Ships at the Beach”

First, a brief historical reference: 1519 AD, during the Spanish conquest of Mexico, Hernán Cortés, the Spanish commander, scuttled his ships so that his men would have to conquer or die, no matter how hard the mission became and how much they might have wanted to turn back. There was no turning back because the ships were gone. Forward was the only choice.

This was a phrase I learned from my boss in one of my roles, when I was asked to step in to run a software development organization of about 200 people. In this situation my boss taught me a lot about Valor. He had it. He required me to step up and have it too.

When I got there the ...

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