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The black box

A metaphor for the importance of communicating intent.

May 15th, 2023

by Adam Stoddard

in Productivity

Imagine waking up in the middle of a pitch black room — a black box — with no idea how you got there.

A black box

What’s the first thing you do?

Someone is inside the black box. They call out 'hello?'

You’d call out of course.

Turns our there’s other people in the black box with you.

Other people respond; 'hi!', 'who's there?'

How do you keep from stumbling into each other? How would you work together to figure out how you got there, or how you get out? You would communicate. And more to the point, you would communicate intent.

The first person tells everyone else to stay put while they find a door

Remote and hybrid work environments are the black box. You can’t physically see what everyone else is doing. The only way to make it work, the only way to keep people and teams from stumbling around in the dark, is for everyone — from top to bottom — to communicate what they intend to do.

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