Creating Your Own Traction

Nora Guerrera
4 min readJan 17, 2024

Seizing times of transition, fluctuation, and opportunity

Highlights:

  • Embracing the New Year Transition
  • Tools and Practices for this Transition Period
  • Resources and Opportunities

December usually consists of a lot of finishing — finishing projects, wrapping up relationships, and preparing to take a break. January often begins with a lot of forecasting what’s to come- new goals, new announcements, and sometimes a new perspective.

We’re now into January- you’re not doing all the things you did in December, nor are you fully into the things you have planned for January and the new year. In some cases, you may even be slipping away from the things you aspired to in your forecasting and back to business as usual. How do you prevent this? How do you gain traction towards your aspirations and away from business as usual?

There’s an Italian phrase, “a mezz’aria” which translates to “in mid-air.”

You may be in ‘a mezz’aria’ — you’re in mid-air. You have space, you can breathe and you have an unlimited number of directions you can go in. The challenge then becomes, how do you find the direction and traction to get started, to take the direction you want to take and not be a feather, forever being tossed about? How do you enable yourself to move forward towards your goals?

Utilize a goal and activity framework.

Utilizing an activity or goal framework can help you maintain your vision but also manage the day-to-day. One example framework is below, adapted from Itamar Gilad’s GIST framework in his book, Evidence Based. This framework takes an evidence-based product management approach and applies it to organizing your personal or business goals.

It starts with your goals. What is the vision, outcome, or achievement you’re striving for this year? Alternately, what is it that you most care about? What are you passionate about? What do you want to accomplish? That’s your starting point on the left. Then, you determine the ideas you have on how to achieve your goal(s). Looking at your ideas, determine the “steps” or incremental tests you need to complete to test your ideas. From there, you can identify the tasks that need to be achieved in order to accomplish the steps/tests. (GIST = goals, ideas, steps, tasks)

(This framework can also be used horizontally, with branches coming down vs going across.)

This framework is powerful because it:

  • Helps you understand where you want to go, connecting your everyday activities to your goal.
  • Embraces an iterative mindset for how to get there. Ideas are possible solutions for how to achieve your goals. You’ll test and learn, iterate, test, and learn towards your goal.
  • Creates tangible steps to test your ideas
  • Helps you outline clear tasks that will keep you focused and accountable for what you need to do every day

We’ve found this framework is particularly helpful for solopreneurs, freelancers, or consultants who have a lot of autonomy but also a lot to achieve. It can also be very valuable to individuals and leaders within organizations. Everyone has (or should have) goals, and this will help you organize and activate them.

Final Thoughts

How do you manage times of transition, fluctuation, or opportunity? Are you ‘a mezz’aira’, and will you seize the space it provides it as you start the new year?

Let us know in the comments here or on Linkedin.

Interested in learning more?

  • Reach out to us at hello@northomegroup.com or on northomegroup.com.
  • Check out our Success in Freelancing program, where we utilize the GIST tool to help you achieve your goals. Now enrolling for February.

🔖 Recommended Reading

There are many great writers, strategists, and design thinkers publishing. This week, we recommend Roger Martin’s Playing to Win post: “Why You Should be Afraid of ‘Great Execution’: The Dark Side for Customers.

Below is an excerpt. Hit the link for the full article:

“Stratgy: Making Choices vs. Execution: Choiceless Doing?”

“As I have argued before (above and elsewhere), the near universal view in management is that there is a thing called strategy and a different thing called execution, and a belief that once strategy is formulated, it needs to be executed. And the dominant view is that there is a hierarchy of importance. “A mediocre strategy well executed is better than a great strategy poorly executed” is the oft-repeated nostrum. I have argued in the pieces cited above that it is illogical rubbish and won’t repeat the arguments here.

Another favorite is that “the only strategy that a customer ever sees is what is executed.” The latter is, I believe, true but the implication isn’t what is intended. The intended implication is that since execution is what the customer sees it is paramount in importance, relative to strategy. The actual implication is quite to the contrary, as I will seek to explain.”

Read the full article

Thank you for reading. If you found this insightful, give us a clap or share it with a friend!

This newsletter is brought to you by Nora Guerrera and Northome Group. Northome Group is a business coaching firm specializing in Strategy, Futures Forecasting, and Operations. We’ve helped everyone from sole proprietors to large organizations adopt and operationalize a discovery-driven, evidence-based, and forward-looking approach, and we can help you, too.

Check us out at www.northomegroup.com or contact us at hello@northomegroup.com.

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Nora Guerrera

Strategist, Leader, Coach, Teacher. I help clients explore, create and use digital to bring game-changing experiences to their businesses and their customers.