In Physics, Power is defined as the transfer of energySimon Sinek – Leaders eat last
For me, I first stumbled onto the work of Simon Sinek when something appeared on a timeline, either Linkedin or Facebook – I forget which – and his video about business metrics and team development from the perspective of the US Navy SEALs. At the core, it is about the imbalance between how we measure staff performance and the value those staff bring to the team. I remember a similar example from the US Hit show Suits – Harold Gunderson was not the highest performer; however, he enabled those around him to be better. The lesson taught by Suits and in this video Simon Sinek are the same; Great Teams are made by people working together in harmony. A well-built team will have a “worth” greater than their individuals can achieve. In other words, as they come together and bond and trust each other more and are led not told they do better. All I know is I hope I’m not the A$$hole!
In our companies now, we focus on arbitrary metrics and then evaluate our employees against those. I started to become aware that this wasn’t “right” a few years ago. For me, it was really a result of starting to step up and do more and more analytics as a result of Power BI. Senior Management would want a metric to be made, and that had to be done, so surprise, surprise, they did it. I had many arguments, and I am almost certain annoyed many people when I was required to challenge that the metric was being made. After discovering Simon Sinek, I suddenly found I was not alone.
When you are a “doer”, you are responsible for doing the process; stacking shelves, selling stocks, building houses, or anything. Why is the assumption that a Manager, Director, Vice President, President, C-level Executive is also somehow responsible for the doing? That’s why we have top-level metrics that are focusing on the doing. The truth is those are easy things to measure when you compare them to what better metrics for management would be. After all, “Sales per month” is so easy compared to “Team members inspired”.
So Power, what does that mean to you? There is a belief that Power is seniority; the more senior you are, the more power you clearly have, but can physics be wrong or is it that these words have different meanings? The more I see, the more I read, and the more companies I speak to and work with for Geordie Consulting, that isn’t the case. The buzz words now are Innovation and Excellence. The problem is innovation can only come when you can fail as for excellence, well that must be unachievable, or it would be a plateau. We must all aspire to Excellence but must also acknowledge that true excellence is an aspiration with no end. That leaves Innovation; what do I mean you have to allow failure to innovate? For much of my career, I have worked within the IT side of businesses, helping with Processes around Incident Management (break/fix), Request Fulfilment, Problem Management and Change Management. I do have a real love for Problem Management, but it is something businesses struggle to implement because failure is not an option. Problem Management is about looking for repeating failures and then defining a fix them, evaluating the cost to fix against the cost per instance of failure and then, when the economics are correct, implement a lasting fix. The challenge is that the “fix” may not be a fix at all or may break something else that you did not know about. All too often, it paralyses businesses. How can senior management be given guarantees that the “Fix” they are about to spend money on will fix the problem? Those of you who are embracing Continual Improvement will have no doubt faced the same issue the roots are, after all, very similar. So what is the gap? The issue here is the metrics. Fixing an issue within the process does not necessarily mean an increase in sales, it may see a decrease in costs, but that is often extremely difficult to quantify ahead of time. So the “Sales per month” metrics are not affected, so why look at it? Good Problem Management (and Continual Improvement) doctrine evaluates quickly, and if you think you’re in the wrong role, back to the original. The benefit is that you now know more about the influences on your process. However, when you have a business where someone knows their job is at risk if their “fix” fails, will they innovate a solution, or will it be a safe, low risk, low-value committee based solution?
In Chapter 8 of Starship Troopers – Robert A. Heinlein (1959) – the hero (if you read the book, you will find out he is definitely not Casper Van Dien) considers the meaning of responsibility. An example of a puppy is used, when you toilet train a puppy, what do you do? Put them down if they have an accident, or do you have a teaching moment? Too often in business, our analytics and measures look at what are termed “Business Objectives”. Business Objectives are an endpoint; They are achieved by having empowered, trusting teams working together for a common goal.
I founded Geordie Consulting because businesses deserve better, and as a company delivering Data Analytics Solutions into companies, we need to support a higher standard for all. We hold ourselves to account for the solutions we deliver. We make sure they are not just dropped into your environment but rather that they are transitioned into your environment so your teams can start to take them over from day one. The goal of Geordie Consulting is to encourage a better data culture within businesses because as your data culture matures so, you will find your overall business improves. The Democratisation of Data sounds like a scary thing for many business leaders, but transparency is never something to be feared; rather, with it, people start to appreciate each other and the talents of those around them. From there, they become more willing to make suggestions for improvement and growth. The best thing is an amazing Data Culture has minimal costs. If this resonates with you, why not book a meeting with one of our team, we will work with you to deliver your data culture.