#65 Babe Ruth, Butlers, Beatles & Bottlerockets

The terms below are concepts invented and gathered from a variety of Aha moments from working on over a dozen teams over my last two years in MBA school. They are useful for internal, cross-functional communication regarding team and project work. They are also useful for discussing what you do & how you think with business civilians, including grandma and grandpa.

The terms are not listed in order of priority, but I will say that the first one, Babe Ruth Point and Hit is my favorite.

Babe Ruth. This is a guy who knew how to set Big Hairy Audacious Goals, and meet them.

#1 The Babe Ruth Point and Hit. This means set a goal and be confident in your abilities. Make your mark and hit it there. (P.S. don’t point anywhere but where you want to go.) Similar to what is known as BHAGs in the biz: Big Hairy Audacious Goals.

#2 The Fifth Beatle. “One of the most revered titles in rock ‘n’ roll, the “Fifth Beatle” is usually referred to the one person who is considered the most trusted and closest person to the greatest band in history.”* Bandmates are teammates. Teams need advisors. Find a Fifth Beatle for your team. They can help guide you.

#3 The Nose Wrinkle. Ever notice someone wrinkling their nose like they smelled something bad when you mention using a tool like Twitter? The nose wrinkling often happens when the person imagines that Twitter is a tool for reporting mundane personal activities like “Wow! I just got a new pair of shoelaces…on sale!”

What they may not realize is that Twitter is like a real time shareable news feed used by industry experts of all kinds to share valuable information. Follow the right feeds and you’ll be well-informed about happenings in your industry. The lesson here is “Try new things, especially if the thought leaders are into it.”

#4 The Butler Did It. This is about when a project goes south. When this happens, don’t be tempted to “throw good [work] after bad [work]. In Finance circles this is called “sunk costs.” As a team, figure out whether it’s worth it to cut your losses and start over. Then make the decision. Blame it on the mythical butler, he can take it. (In other words, the butler symbolizes a kind of safety release.)

#5 Bottlerocket. It’s a team ice-breaker word that means, “Timeout.” The team then addresses the issue before moving on. It’s a reference to the movie “Bottlerocket” when Luke Wilson visits Owen Wilson at a mental institution and helps him escape, even though Owen was free to leave on his own. So Bottlerocket means let’s stop and think for a minute, what are we doing?

#6 The Ed Wood – Stan Kubrick Project Development Spectrum.Ed Wood was a terrible filmmaker. He made quirky, low-cost sci-fi movies quickly (think pie pan spaceships on a fishing pole), and he didn’t care about technical errors. For him, it was about just doing it. He’s a cult icon today. Kubrick was a filmmaker too, however on the other end of the spectrum because he was a perfectionist. This caused him to miss studio deadlines and go over budget. Six of his films were nominated for Oscars. So both filmmakers were successful in their own way.

What does this mean for you? Use Ed Wood style at the beginning of project to sketch it out, prototype it and test the idea to see if it flies. (Work on this version with your team, but don’t show this to the client, especially while wearing a wig.) Then move through development toward the Kubrick stage of perfecting the project. Show this version to the client.

#7 Lazy Loading. “A design protocol used in computer programming to defer initialization of an object until the point at which it is needed.” -Wikipedia. For you, this means paying attention to priorities, in order of priority. It’s about focus, you don’t need to try to address everything at once. It will slow you down.

#8 Fainting Goat Syndrome. This is when you are so excited about an idea or an opportunity that you fall over, or have to fall asleep for 15 minutes. Practice deferring Fainting Goat Syndrome episodes until you are in a safe place.

Have some of your own? Please feel free to share them in the comments section!