Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Ready. Fire. Aim.

How many times have you found yourself in a business meeting wondering if the focus of the meeting is misplaced? It is not uncommon for business teams to concentrate on accomplishing tasks instead of the context of those projects being addressed. We all want to see progress, and sometimes it is easier to devote energy and effort to a process, the scope of which, is easy to see through completion. The irony is that it often makes sense to take time to think before moving forward.

Consider the cost-influence curve. It’s a fundamental illustration that helps drive home the value inherent in planning up-front. It is a powerful argument in favor of a process of design and construction of any building initiative, for example. It stands to reason that a complete strategic overview of a structure’s intended use and purpose in the early planning stages will likely lead the construction’s form that follows its function. Your greatest impact on cost will be in the front end of the program, and that is why your ability to influence change is best addressed early, too.

There are countless examples of corporate scenarios that, in the heat of a sense of urgency/frenzy could result in unfortunate and ill-conceived action. Here are three common examples that seem to recur.

  1. A website that is hastily built with little or no attention to understanding the customer and positioning
  2. A decision to print cheap business cards and brochures based on low-cost production without careful review of what that decision says about your company
  3. A corporate logo or brand packaging decision rushed into without careful attention to how prospects are likely to perceive the product compared to alternatives in the marketplace
You have to love people who have a bias for action. We all want people on our team who will move quickly and with a sense of purpose, people who are driven to complete goals. As a leader, however, you must be able to step back and put it all into a relevant context. Aim carefully.

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