Is life too short to be busy all the time?
In business how often do we hear; 'I'm so busy'?
And yet we also hear the most powerful word in business is; 'No'. Being able to negotiate, prioritise and strike a balance are clearly the Holy Grail. As we so often hear between life and work.
Is the increasing pace of work, and life, causing us to be busy 'fools'?
Slaves to the digital grindstone of a quickly sent email, a data-rich, badly designed report or a poorly organised meeting - all based on a lack of thinking and planning. Are we 'rushing to do' having lost the ability (or time) to think, before we build a plan and then, do - efficiently and with clear objectives. Do we follow a well built plan, enjoy the engagement of stakeholders and the real essence of success - robust outputs against objectives measured and reported accordingly?
Ever since Nike coined the phrase; 'Just do it', it seems to have become the mantra for organisations struggling to keep up by asking their teams to working ever harder, ever faster. Yet the strapline was a call to action to get into sports activity. It would interesting to know how many employees think that having 'just' done it, in terms of work, it was the right thing for the customer and how many times they may 'just' have to do it again, yet properly next time? Or, is rushing to do more fun, because we 'feel' busy?
However, is such rushing to do making us busy fools in our quest to recover the UK's fallen productivity? By working faster, yet, not necessarily, smarter!
The days of unlimited budgets, time and resource are gone. Forever. So we have to recalibrate to achieve more, with less. This means thinking - fast and slow. Fast for customers (responsive) and matters of health and safety (reactive) should they present themselves. And slow for objectives-driven strategy, plans, priorities and measurement. Yet this sought after objectivity, away from the daily pressure of operations, the buy in from sponsors and stakeholders alike, and capability to embrace the challenge and deliver, are often overlooked. If we can spend more time at the front of an initiative we align our proposition to customer's needs, prepare its presentation and align our people's capability (a key phrase) and processes to deliver the performance we seek (yet rarely plan well enough for).
The promised benefits of digitalisation and data have yet to be (fully) realised. In many cases, they have simply opened up more silos (of data) automatically sent (by technology) in a hard to use format (rather than think about the user) to humans (colleagues and decision makers) overloaded with both. In this busy world, where technology has allowed us to speed up, networking is still highly used. Why is that? Because we are human and we enjoy each other. We have allowed ourselves to become slaves to technology rather than thinking about how technology can be the enabler of better processes and data presentation - thus allowing more time - to think, plan and do, properly, first time.
It may be that this is where agile methods, first coined in software developent land, have become the new mantra for work. Yet software is a 'nought and one' transaction journey to arrive at the right functionality, experience and outcome. Some of the thinking behind it may be useful to projects where the senior organisation, and appointed project sponsor, are clear about objectives, the right stakeholders are involved and the plan is built sensibly with the right timescales, quality assurance and resource allocation. Yet today's leadership need to take full account of the human element, not the dry world of development, as exciting as some of the discoveries have been!
Because people still buy from people, and the best work is collaborative work, we should never overlook the importance of humans - those affected, the users and the beneficiaries. Not forgetting, of course, the customer.
Therein lies the challenge for change, adaption and growth. 'Same old, same old' won't hack it anymore.
The world may be fast, and getting ever faster, yet before 'acceleration' can be enjoyed to reach new levels of performance, traction is needed to benefit from the new 'power' sought. Power is not in the strategy, or in the structure (nicely set out in excel or Powerpoint) it is in the human engagement and execution - for improved organisational performance.
And that takes time.
It's about #alignment.
If you're an organisation that seeks to change, adapt or grow, time with
HUHO Consulting is time well spent.