Soccer, the world’s most popular game, is a lot like the world of strategy execution: it’s a complex game where the future possibilities are endless. Proficiency depends not only upon your team’s knowledge and skills, but also on your ability to read the field, make quick decisions and communicate with your teammates.
Even the most compelling strategy is useless if it isn’t implemented. But in many companies, no one’s driving execution.
Many organisations budget either because they have to, or because it’s something they always do. While visiting a large client who had expressed concern over the time it was taking to open up a budget data entry sheet, I was astonished to find it had around 1300 rows and 36 columns (they were attempting to set a budget for the next 3 years). A quick calculation showed that users were expected to enter around 46,800 numbers. Now assuming that you could enter numbers at the rate of 12 a minute, that would take each user approximately 65 hours to complete! This is assuming that they don’t have to think about what the numbers mean.n>
Firms are settling for being fast enough. Sliding a bit on service times — as long as it doesn’t get crazy long — is acceptable because it let’s the firms distinguish themselves. A unique salad offering separates Wendy’s from McDonalds’ and potentially draws a premium price. The question is at what point would service times become a problem. That is, at what point does greater product variety stretch out service so long that a new salad or taco just ain’t worth it?
Decision fatigue is a recent discovery that describes how our mental energy is depleted by making several decisions. As our day wears on, our decision quality wears out.
We begin to make decisions based on the path of least resistance.
If a decision requires a bold step into unfamiliar territory, we will tend to say no. It’s easier to maintain the status quo.
Conversely, if the request is accompanied by a cadre of strong supporters, it’s easier to go with the flow and approve the proposal.
Decision fatigue also causes us to simplify our decisions. Instead of weighing multiple criteria such as risk minimization versus income maximization versus workforce impacts, we focus on a single attribute and choose accordingly.
[But,] It’s important to note here that we are completely unaware of decision fatigue.
Making time to review earlier proposals and decisions is hard… very hard. But it’s still one of the best time investments a leader can make.
When operating budgets are squeezed, we usually cut the training budget first. It’s an easy target because there is little visible, immediate impact. When time is squeezed, we usually cut follow-up reviews. Follow-up is an easy target because we tell ourselves we’ll get back to those reviews… when there’s time. So, when will that be? And how much might delay cost?
I am often amazed to discover that the lack of communication in technology projects stems not from a lack of resources but from wrong assumptions made about what’s perceived to be communication as part of a mobile business intelligence (BI) strategy. Just as we know that social media analytics isn’t just about counting Facebook likes or Twitter tweets, we should know that in mobile BI an announcement e-mail along with an attached instruction document alone isn’t synonymous with communication. When developing a mobile BI strategy, you must consider all facets of communication—that includes not only multiple channels but also different formats. Moreover, you must pay attention to both quality (effectiveness) and quantity (volume and frequency) of the content to ensure its maximum effectiveness.
Getting people on and off planes is a fascinating topic. Most people have a very visceral response to it if only because it is a business process that we are routinely exposed that often does not run well. Why it doesn’t run well can be blamed on the airline (since there is not the same degree of process standardization in boarding that one sees at, say, a supermarket checkout) or our fellow travelers (since those idiots so often don’t follow instructions). There have been some recent innovations such as boarding passengers in a random fashion or allowing those who do not need an overhead bin to board first. NowWired reports that other process changes are coming (Airlines Still Trying to Make Passenger Boarding Less Annoying, Aug 28).
Magic is a very technical profession - you’ve got to learn all that sleight of hand stuff and it’s got to be very accurate. It attracts geeks who enjoy that sort of thing who practice by themselves for hours on end, often in their bedroom from a young age. Polishing the act to get it just right.
Yet to be a big success you’ve got to learn strong people skills. How to engage an audience, how to draw them into your story, how to entertain them, not just show off how clever you are at the magic.
All employees need to feel that it is part of their job to constantly come up with new ways of doing things to make them better so that process innovation becomes just a way of doing business.
So how can you achieve this? Innovation must become a core part of your leadership agenda. Training employees on how to innovate processes becomes the vehicle through which you can spread the methods and ways of thinking. Then the corporate culture must continue to reinforce the message. On a practical level, maybe this means starting each day with a discussion of what we could do better.