Beware what you magnify, it expands and expands. That is the Parkinson's Law.
I was talking to this executive a few weeks ago and he said he is very busy dealing with some of the issues they are having with his organization. Fair enough, I left him alone with his busyness.
The fact that busyness is a sort of a prized, default position is alarming. If busyness is the blueprint for great work, there are thousands of organizations that would qualify for the prized award or recognition.
The work of dealing with issues in the organizations should not underestimated. It is tough and therefore could be frustrating in many times. But the fact that if the problem continues to persist, and that interventions seem to be wholly inadequate to respond to the problem, you might need an expert opinion or an independent sounding board to get your head out of the weeds so you can see the forest. That perspective would not only be effective, it would be a breakthrough for most of the time.
Going round and round like a hamster in a wheel, redoubling your efforts while you do not see results is insanity. The problem will just get bigger and bigger while the solution becomes unreachable.
Think about what you are focusing in your problem-solving.
Are you really solving the problem or creating more problems by letting it pester and get worse with ineffectual remedies?
Are you focused on band-aid solutions or lasting changes?
We cannot be overburdened by what the society wants us to do, what the school or the future work sector we want to work for wants us to be, or the future employer we are targeting wants us to have. Amazon didn't even ask us, the consumers if we want to buy things online. They just did it!
The industry data and the employer preferences are mere signals, either we can allow it to shape our actions or allow ourselves the latitude to create our own path way. Organizations with boiler-plate plans, visions, and mission statements are suffering from lack of originality for the sake of being in the 'in' group. This is at the expense of their own business value.
Use your best judgement knowing that you have these data in front of you and can have more data if you so choose. There will be more data by the way I end this blog!
I was in an Advanced Data Analysis course last year and it made me more assured that data will not make us think better. It will make us think less! It is us, humans who will interpret and use the data to have a best-guess of what is to come.
We have our senses, our experiences, and life-long learning, and appreciation for practicality to guide us. Before AI and machine learning, we used a lot of those and our wisdom carried us through. Now, there is so much noise we can't have the silence we need to think and meditate on our situations.
Do we want data to do the thinking for us or give the data its rightful place- as part of the tools in our modern toolkit?
Last week, I met two service providers and had a chat about business. Both of them have admittedly, that their businesses were not doing particularly well.
One cited the lack of clients, while the other one cited the lack of time for the delivery.
Obvious to their situation, it doesn't take time to figure out that both of these professionals lack the awareness of their own marketing effectiveness or just plain effectiveness.
Time is also a silly excuse considering that this is not an avocation but a fully operational business. Lack of time to market and get in front of your customers means that you have decided that doing other activities are important than that. Period.
Lack of client means one thing: you are lacking the activity that will attract, convert, and retain those clients that are precious for your business to grow.
You can control these variables: time, talent, and available resources.
If you are, not then either you have given up, have inadequate strategies, or you are not executing those things that you know you should be doing.
Check yourself in the mirror.
There are many approaches and methods that one can use to deal with a management issue. Not all of them, though can get you directly to the solution.
Some are too cumbersome, you don't even want to embark on the program. Even for the personal empowerment solutions, you wonder if the nine steps towards debt-free lifestyle can make you even broke!
That nine steps or twelve stages will not get you closer to your destination unless you break it down and only use what is pragmatic for your situation.
Blindly following the prescribed actions without considering if it is appropriate, value-adding, and practically easy to execute is wasting precious time and effort.
Do the needful-get a big cauldron and mix them all.
1. What gets traction, has long-term promise & viability, and resonates well with the culture and direction of your organization?
2. Aside from costs, what time commitment and effort are involved?
3. Who is championing this and will ensure that things get done properly?
If you find it difficult answering these questions, then you have yet to learn about the proposed solution and get your head down to work.
Look for evergreen principles and eschew the fads and newer models.
In five years, these will fade and you will be surprised Drucker's ideas are as relevant as fifty years ago!
I was talking to the President of a prestigious association this week. He said that they don't know yet what they are going to do for the next two years. Admittedly, he told me that this position and responsibility is the 4th of his priorities right now.
As I think about it, prioritization is one of the management prerogatives. Either you are good at it or not. Multi-tasking is never effective.
You cannot be doing many things at the same time with the same level of quality, attentiveness, and thoroughness for all. Inattention and lack of diligence are signs that managers are not giving the full consideration to the issues that deserve more than a stamp approval. Executives juggling all the balls with two hands is great and fun act to see, like acrobats. But once the balls started to drop, it is not a pleasant sight at all.
The balls can represent your family, business, faith and community, and other professional and personal pursuits. All these are great but don't make the mistake of trying to do everything all at once, hoping that it will later on settle down. Some issues don't and some do. There are clear repercussions to cruising along the highway with less than 100% of attention and control.
If there are too many priorities, then you really don't have a priority. Pick 2-3 that you can safely and thoroughly perform with outstanding results or leave it for the next time or opportunity.
Today's managers and executives' failure to execute is not because of lack of skill or knowledge or commitment, it is because of lack of strategic prioritization.
Focus on the 80% that drives the greatest results.
This is going to irk a lot of people.
They resort to consensus to shoot down proposals and ideas because they know that because of 'groupthink' any 'ideas not invented here' will go down the trashing floor.
They resort to consensus to look for unanimity. People will have a different opinion and perspective but it doesn't mean they need to be on your side all the time. Who has the real decision-making authority in this issue?
They resort to consensus when in fact the project needs a strong proponent, champion, and supporter. If the group will be the champion, no body is the real champion, proponent, and endorser.
They resort to consensus to free themselves from the real responsibility of taking a strong leadership when it is needed, hiding behind the guise of "collaboration, cooperation, buy-in" when in fact, there will be no buy-in when no one is absolutely championing it no matter what. People need to the passion, confidence, and commitment to the issue!
Consensus is so much abused these days. Learn to discern when to use it and not to use it or you are blocking opportunities and improvements through consensus.