Jason Fried

July 2, 2022

Working around people

We all know it’s important to work with people. That’s collaboration.

But it’s perhaps even more important to learn how to work around people. To uncollaborate.

Not by ignoring them or dismissing them. But moving without them because they simply aren’t available to move with you. This isn’t about avoidance, it’s about “ah, you’re busy, no worries, we’ll figure it out.”

They could be a person, or they could be a team.

Maybe they’re busy. Maybe their priorities are different. Maybe they’re free in three weeks, but what you’re working on needs to happen three days from now.

The default position is to stand still and wait for them, or to actively interrupt to shift their priorities to favor your needs over theirs.

This is how companies slow down. It’s how they grind gears and end up running in circles. The default mode is dependency, favoring syncing up and locking in over decoupling and letting loose.

Dependency is the wrong mode. Don’t slow down to merge, speed up and take a different path forward.

The way to move quicker is to move independently. To learn how to work around people. To glide, not to grind. And not to wait, but either to do without, to do on your own, or to find a simpler way that eliminates the requirement of their help in the first place.

This helps you, and it’s a favor to them too.

Of course it’s not always the case, but, more often than not, it is.


About Jason Fried

Hey! I'm Jason, the Co-Founder and CEO at 37signals, makers of Basecamp and HEY. Subscribe below to follow my thinking on business, design, product development, and whatever else is on my mind. Thanks for visiting, thanks for reading.