The best companies are COASTing

There’s one group of people on the roads that are experts at high-speed driving: police, ambulance, and other emergency service drivers. In many countries they are train with the acronym COAST.


COAST stands for Concentration, Observation, and Anticipation, to create more Space and Time.


In practice, COAST uses an attention loop: from far distance… to mid distance.. to near distance… to mirrors… to what is going on in the car, and then back out to the far distance.


Drivers who use COAST maximize their attention. They are fully aware of the situation they are in. They are totally switched on to what is happening around them and ready to take advantage of it.



COAST at work

It’s the same in the best companies. They use COAST. The executive and management teams tune in, concentrate, observe what is happening, anticipate opportunities and take advantage of them.


This morning, I had a Mid-Project Review Meeting with a client. The managers are happy with the outcomes of the project so far, but we saw ways to make it even better. So we have changed the timing and structure of the upcoming phase. Not everything on a project is a problem to be fixed. In this case, it was an opportunity to exploit.


The changes we’ve made today will amplify the positive business outcomes, and mean that the managers put less time into the project. We’ve created Space and Time for the business outcomes that matter.


Other companies shy away from exploiting opportunities because they think it will be too much hard work. It’s not. They just prefer to stay on autopilot. It’s easier to drift along reaching comfortable milestones. The sad thing is that the business results are only half as good as they could be.


Driving project forward with COAST stops us from drifting along. All it takes is concentration, open and honest observations, and shared anticipation of what is coming up. This is the basis of trustful dialogs. I believe anyone can do it and their project outcomes are all the better for it.




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