Scroll to top
© Optimize Consulting Inc. | All Rights Reserved

Life in the Fast Lane

Optimize Blog - July 24, 2017 - 0 comments

Lord Mountbatten is quoted as stating that “The primary factor in a successful attack is speed” and the reality is that the current frontier of business success requires that we deliver improvements with greater speed than ever before to compete. It is no longer big versus small but rather fast versus slow. Does it take your company a couple of weeks to set up a meeting with key people because their calendars are so busy? Are there multiple hoops to jump through before a decision can be made? Are there so many differing agendas in play that no one has a clear picture of the corporate direction? If so, you are either in trouble or headed toward it.
In an age of knowledge work the role of acceleration is to knowledge work what quality control is to manual work because knowledge work changes so rapidly. In today’s knowledge age, what matters most is not what you know but how fast you can apply it. In a rapidly changing competitive environment, acceleration is an essential ingredient in achieving high quality and a sustainable competitive advantage.
To succeed in such an environment we must get everyone aligned and properly sequence and accelerate what needs to get done. Leaders are often clear on many tasks that impact them directly but it’s very common to have different individual views that don’t add up to a shared enterprise picture. This results in competing priorities and high failure rates.
What we know is that when knowledge work is managed like manual work, it tends to get over-engineered, with overly complex frameworks and bureaucracy. Over-engineering knowledge work results in the work taking longer and costing more to implement and manage.
Effective knowledge work success requires a more synergistic and socialized approach. It requires a minor amount of initial complexity at the front end to avoid an unworkable amount of complication later on.
This difference between complexity and complication is more than semantics. A key difference between complexity and complication is that complexity has a coherent structure and framework and can be effectively managed. In contrast, complication is largely random and therefore becomes unmanageable over time. Large companies regularly struggle, not because they are too complex, but because they are too complicated.
In his book, Business at the Speed of Thought, Bill Gates emphasizes that the past was about reengineering but the future depends on velocity. With knowledge work, velocity is at the heart of the productivity opportunity. Sustainable success is not simply driven by urgency, because you can urgently go in the wrong direction. Knowledge work productivity is not about speed or direction, it is a function of speed and direction.
Peter Drucker wrote that the three dimensions of an economic task were to make the present business effective, identify and realize its potential, and make it into a different business for a different future. In our rapidly changing and competitive economy, this needs to be accelerated.
To succeed requires that companies link their efforts to four fundamental questions:
• Where do we intend to go and why?
• What needs to happen and when?
• How can those things best get done?
• Who is going to be responsible for which tasks?
If we can effectively answer these questions we can create order out of chaos, and improve our corporate velocity. If we cannot answer these questions or cannot achieve alignment on the answers, then we cannot hope to succeed and the only velocity experienced will be the speed we gain toward failure…..

Related posts

Post a Comment