Last Friday In February – Food For Thought

Can you believe that this is the last Friday in February already? Time flies when you are having fun.

Too often I come across analysis paralysis in business. Too often I see fancy graphs and PowerPoint / Keynote presentations that look great but tell me little. Too often I hear a lot of “noise” in the offices and meeting rooms I visit. Lots of procrastination. Plenty activity. Little productivity.

I think it is time for leaders (at all levels) to limit the amount they focus on. Keep it simple, make it crystal clear and ensure that they limit the KPI’s and number of objectives. For me five is the maximum. More than that and employees lose focus about what is important.

Do not have too many rear-view mirrors or it will be difficult to see the road ahead. This links to the above point. It also links to vision and purpose which I have discussed in previous articles. If one can see where one is heading it helps build commitment. I love the quote from Lewis Carroll’s book Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland (written in 1865):

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” said Alice.
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where – “ said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat

This leads me to the company dashboard. Do not look at your dashboard just because it is pretty but because it helps you make the right decisions. Enough said.

We should ensure everyone’s KPI’s are aligned across the department/region/ company. Often, I ask clients for their KPI’s only to discover that there is little alignment across departments let alone regions. We all need to sing from the same hymn sheet. Sounds obvious right? Unfortunately, this is not common practise. Align your KPI’s and ensure everyone is “pointing east”.

Too many companies have lagging indicators (they measure success but once this is achieved they cannot influence anything). More leading indicators are required (they can predict successes and then decisions can be changed in order to reach the finish line). Typically, leaders tend to set more lagging indicators. From now on try to set more leading indicators.

Aim for efficiency. If you need information this should be easily available otherwise what is the point? If it takes ages to obtain the information, it is counter-productive.

Businesses should compete to be unique, not necessarily the best. This is not sport where there is only one winner. This is business, where there are often many winners. I think that there are too many analogies to sport in business these days. I love sport. I also love to win. However, it is time to differentiate between the two. Stop using sports analogies in business. The biggest misconception in business is that we have to be the best. This is not necessarily true. Of course, we aim for perfection and do not tolerate mediocrity, but it does not have to be a zero-sum game. Within an industry sector you can have several companies beating the industry average. They can all be winners.


F – Follow

O – one

C – course

U – until

S – successful

Paul Rigby – co-author of The Bee Book and facilitator of Bee Engaged, Bee Ready For Change, Bee A Great Leader and Bee Innovative workshops