Straight Talk Framework Content Plan for 2020

I am excited to share the evolution of the Straight Talk Framework with you. This started as my internal plan. Then I was asked to share it. Right now it captures the first half of the year. I have content to last us a year -- or longer. 

This image is the digitization of actual post-it notes on the whiteboard in my office. This happened as I started to ponder how to best introduce the updates to the Straight Talk Framework.

The planning exercise helped me see how much has changed. All for the better. In some ways, the Straight Talk Framework got a bit simpler. In others, it got more powerful.

Since it’s going to take a while to get all the ideas out of my head, notebooks, and various digital repositories (how come no one writes about ‘information debt’), I opted to share my proposed roadmap and likely calendar.

Oh - and this isn’t all of it.

As I got into sketching this out, I quickly realized that I could spend a weekend or more just in planning. That’s not helpful. I managed to cut myself off — and with a good push in March and April, this works out to be about 12 weeks or so of programming -- easily into June 2020. 

This started as an internal guide. Expect the proposed topics to have different titles. As I work through the list, I'm inclined to split things apart, add new elements, and respond to questions. That means I'll keep the updates coming, but the timeline will expand accordingly. 

A quick note about the 5x5 designation (click to expand)

5x5 is a measure of the strength and clarity of a radio signal. When someone “reads” you 5x5 — sometimes voiced as LOUD AND CLEAR — the signal is strong, clear, and free of noise. 

We all need more signal and less noise.

The Straight Talk 5x5 builds on the concept of 5x5 with a message that is loud and clear. We use constraints to achieve this goal. The chief constraints are 5 slides (or key points) delivered within 5 minutes or less.

This is a tool I’ve used for over a decade. This is the first resource I’m going to make available (week of March 16th) with an overview (as a 5x5), workbook, and planner. 

When you see content below marked with 5x5 - that signals a plan to introduce the concept with a 5x5, likely with slides or sketchnotes, writing, audio, and possibly video.

The current phases and proposed topics (current as of March 15, 2020)

Straight Talk Framework Overview and Elements

The first phase (re)introduces the Straight Talk Framework and key concepts. We'll work through the three aspects of Straight Talk and the three skill set areas. Then we’ll dive into the elements (the five questions) that define the core structure of each skill area - along with a handy one-sheet reference.

Week of March 16th, 2020
Straight Talk Framework Overview 5x5

A brief introduction of the areas (experience, skillset, and practice) and what it all means.

What is Straight Talk?

Exploring what Straight Talk is, what it isn’t, and how you can get started.

How Frameworks Work 5x5

Straight Talk is a Framework (not a formula) and it’s worth briefly introducing what a proper framework looks like. 

Straight Talk Framework - Levels and Progression (5x5)

An exciting and powerful improvement is the introduction of levels and simpler progression (good for learning and application). I might include a one-page picture for this one, too. And it draws on some other research I've been advancing for the last decade or so. 

RESOURCE: Straight Talk 5x5

I'm introducing and making the Straight Talk 5x5 (described above) available as a resource (not yet sure if that’ll happen in one shot or as a short series).

Week of March 23, 2020
Straight Talk Framework: Experience 5x5

The tenets of Straight Talk essential to creating and maintaining the experience. 

Straight Talk Framework: Skillset 5x5

What most people seek — the three areas and four sets of elements (phrased as questions) that define the structure. I'm not going to tease the next set I'm working on 😉 

Straight Talk Framework: Practice 5x5

Another key evolution of the framework is the incorporation of a practice. This is powerful.

Week of March 30, 2020
STF: Identify Value Elements 5x5

An overview of the five elements to identify value; the basis of successful value propositions (and more). 

STF: Actualize Value Elements 5x5

An overview of the five elements to actualize value; these form the execution cycle and set the stage for a powerful Rapid Execution Practice.

STF: Articulate Value: Better Story Structure Elements 5x5

An overview of the five elements necessary to structure a better story. Simple, not easy. 

Articulate Value: Communicate what Counts Elements 5x5

An overview of the five elements to communicate value effectively when it counts. This one actually dates back to 2003-2004 (in case you like little nuggets like that). 

RESOURCE: Straight Talk Framework Skill Elements One Page 

A one-page (likely hand-sketched) reference of the four sets of elements (questions) - and a continuum concept to help visualize the interconnection between the skills and elements. 

Straight Talk Framework Operation and Growth

This is where we’ll explore how to use and operate the framework and elements. I’m including a few other things I’ve picked up along the way. Based on how the next few weeks go, I might shift some topics around — or introduce some new ones (already started).

A few of the topics below strike me as big enough to turn into a series… so the timing here might expand a bit (my gut says it’ll expand). Questions will fuel this area, too. Ask ‘em if you got ‘em. 

As I make changes, I’ll update this section, too.

Week of April 6
Primer on Frameworks​

An expansion of the 5x5 overview of frameworks with some specific insights on the Straight Talk Framework.

The team experience (everyone gets a system!)

A surprising benefit of the Straight Talk Framework is the opportunity for individuals to develop their own systems. That means everyone on the team maintains agency even while engaging in Straight Talk. The framework is key. And this might turn into a series.

Week of April 13
Addressing the 3 needs of individuals (for teams to function)

Part of me (really) wants to shift this sooner because I think it’s that important. But the foundation that comes before it matters. I’m going to share three concepts essential for our growth and satisfaction, explore why they’re often missing, and how the Straight Talk Framework helps us get them back This might turn into a series.

The History and Evolution of Straight Talk

It turns out I chronicled some of the shifts. This is envisioned as a brief history of the genesis, the changes, and even the stuff that came before (raise your hand if you experienced speaking about security or communicating the value of security). 

Week of April 20
The powerful fractal of Intention → Action → Reflection

At the core of the execution cycle (part of the Actualization sill) is such a simple concept. Master this and the world is yours, especially with the power of the Straight Talk Framework for guidance. 

Tell me something good

Count on me asking you this next time we talk. I’ll explain why it’s absolutely essential to ask yourself and those around you. This probably spawns another discussion around my persistent suggestion to amplify the good!

Week of April 27
Best Next Step

You’ll hear me explain the importance to take the BEST next step (not the next best step) frequently - because it’s true. I’ll break out the process to get to the wording and why it matters so you can use it, too.

Progress reveals the pathway

Another truth I’m eager to break down and share.

Week of May 8, 2020
The importance of directed action

The Straight Talk Framework is built for action. The key is to act in a clarified, prioritized, and directed way. Otherwise, it’s just motion - and that has a hidden downside. 

Embrace Constraints

Creativity craves constraints. The Straight Talk Framework is a series of constraints… and allows more to help you shorten your path to value. This introduces the importance of constraints (with more to come).

Week of May 15, 2020
The Power of Perspectives

A brief overview of a key to using the Straight Talk Framework to cut through the noise, identify value, and translate value into understanding (for starters). Perspectives and perspective-taking is powerful (but is also a bit of an advanced topic). 

Why it takes three rounds

A brief explanation of the three rounds to get to the good stuff (ps: don’t always need all three, but when you do, you’ll be glad you know about them).

More Details About the Straight Talk Framework Elements

After I captured the first five questions... I stopped putting post-it notes on the board. Those five questions represent what most people know of as the slightly-evolved Straight Talk Framework. By now you know it’s got four sets of five questions — oh, and I’ve identified the fifth area for another set of five questions. We might need to wait until 2021 for that 😉

I think this likely marks a shift to a weekly focus on the Straight Talk Framework. The soonest we get to this is the week of May 22, 2020. Smart money suggests it’ll start in June or even July.  

June (or later)
What problem are you trying to solve?
What value?
What is the impact (all about friction)?
How will we measure what matters?
Are we ready? 

Additional Resources

I’ve also been working on some resources, the desire for a newsletter (emphasis on letter), and getting back to the conversations we all crave. 

Straight Talk 5x5

A nifty tool to distill your message to offer more signal and less noise. 

Reclaim and Command Your Time

It started as a sketch to explore why we have no time. I focused on the steps to reclaim and take command (not control) over your time. In the process, I realized that leaders have a responsibility to help their teams -- but it takes a shift in approach. Overall, I'm also exploring simple, powerful ways to increase your value. I have a few folders of ideas... we'll see where this leads. 

Thinking: April 2020

The Value Exchange

Should you take that vendor briefing? Do you need to attend that conference (event)? What about that meeting? I'll share a simple way to rapidly assess -- and track/check -- potential value to inform action. 

The Vendor Value Scorecard

I built this a few years ago to address a simple challenge: was the briefing worth it? And what happens next. Five questions adapted from the Straight Talk Framework into yes or no questions. Within 10 minutes or less you'll know if it makes sense to continue and define the best next step. 

I have more, too. I want to focus on these first. I believe that helping each other reclaim our time and make better choices brings amazing benefits. Once we're rocking and rolling we'll work together to solve more problems.

My Approach: Directed Action + Progress Reveals the Pathway

Instead of over-planning, I’m going to dive in. I’m driven by a need to share.My goal is to work quickly, keep it simple, and improve. My chief goal is to offer value and consistency. Ideally that leads to consistently improving the value I can offer. 

As I get the foundation built, we’ll work together to figure out the right programming and cadence to best serve your needs. 

How you can stay updated and guide me

Okay… so this is what I have so far. I have more (lots more). I've come to realize that I’m sharing 20 years of work (5 focused on Straight Talk) as quickly as I can sort through notes and information (see the bit above about 'information debt'). But make no mistake, I'm amped. I'm truly excited to share what I have learned.  

Your encouragement and enthusiasm fuels me. Want to keep me going? Try it out. Send me your questions. Send me your successes

And at any point - happy to chat with you about your Straight Talk Journey

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