Ippon-ing the next project

Knowing the Judo World Championship is currently happening in Paris, I could not resist and make another reference to martial arts, and how I keep learning and getting those “ah-ah!” moments when on the mat (or tatami for some). Last night brought a new word in my vocabulary, used in judo, karate and jujitsu: ippon, which can translate in “one full point” in Japanese.

Getting into a new project looks quite similar: I just want to nail it, rest my case, and be done with it. Easier said than done, as I probably have to wrestle with the circumstances (stakeholders, geographic environment, weather details, moving deadlines).

The wrestling, or grappling, part can be long, and the time spent training allows for developing skills around breathing, fatigue management, and obviously techniques to handle any kind of situations. Tackling a project calls for the same preparation: physically fit, mentally ready and emotionally open to events that are only events, as opposed to stories I could make around them. I can, and do, train for this, so I can get in the ring, being charged with energy, adrenaline (I know I respond well to butterflies in my stomach with the rush of a new ride) and an inspired motivation to step on the mat, hear the bell and go for it.

Crushing and scratching my knuckles, again, comes with the novelty of a project. The referees (my clients) remind me of their guidelines, and I keep at it, head down with my senses alert and fully awake, paying attention to my surroundings and keeping my eyes on the goal. When proved to be wrong, or off balance, and it happens, I say so: I usually feel it pretty instantly on the mat. I may be standing, momentarily flying in the air before falling down, I stay in the fight, focused, determined, digging into what I know and can apply in the setting I choose to find myself. Then it is about my decisions for a move which connects cleanly, with good form and with little opportunity for the opponent to defend against it. There is no secret: it is about practice, in order to gain experience and confidence in the choices I make. And that is what Ippon is about: getting the project dealt with, in the cleanest way possible, having relied on years of practice.

These years are all the upstream logistics components I have worked on, and keep expanding, consolidated, inventoried and handpicked for each new project scenario. Call it experience if you will, I am not a “chick with a big camera”. I create and compose from the lessons I learned over years of practice so I can now call Ippon at the end of a project, with less and less scratches.

Wishing a great time for the ones at the POPB this week in Paris for some exceptional judo, with a special thought for Teddy Riner. Ippon them all!