How to stop your culture of busy busy and start delivering

“Everyone around here is just too busy being busy” sighed Merryn.  Her business employed 250 people, it was growing and she was feeling the strain.

“How can you tell?” I asked.

“Because everyone time I ask someone ‘how’s things’, I get the same response…a roll of the eyes and  ’just busy….flat out…..you know how it is’.  And things are stalling.  Lots of action, no results.”

“What would you like to be hearing?”

“It would be great” Merryn continued, “if someone would say  ’I’m focussed, in the flow and we’re all delivering.  Feeling great‘”

“So what are your people working on then?”

Merryn looked puzzled for a second, then replied “Lots of stuff – business-as-usual, we’ve got improvements to the warehouse operation underway, legislative change coming, our IT systems need an upgrade, the usual product development, and on top of that, we’re trying to find ways to innovate so we can play in some new fields”.

“Sounds pretty busy busy” I replied.  ”So if I’m sitting there with a choice as to what to work on next, which one do you want me to do?” Read more…

Adam is a partner of The Working Journey a niche consultancy that designs organisations into creative accountable enterprises that deliver...using ideas such as you just read. Want to chat? Send him an email by clicking here.

The (not so) hidden key to integrating business units

“I’ve got some issues between my two key General Managers” said Ingvild, the CEO.

“Lucky there’s a CEO then” I replied, “but I guess you’re not exactly feeling lucky”.

She laughed.  ”Not so much.”

“Tell me what’s happening”

“Well you know Sue, she’s our GM of Development.  Her job is to come up with what’s next.  We discuss as an Exec team, in the end I make decisions about where we want to be in five years or so, whether it fits our purpose,  and her area is there to develop the offers and the opportunities in those new areas.”

“OK.  Who else?”

“Janet.  She’s our GM of Operations, and she’s there to bring into existence the stuff that Sue is confident is viable as well as deliver the usual stuff.  So it’s sort of like ‘Sue tests and learns, confirms viability, Janet plays a part in this, then once we’re go, Janet’s area integrates the new stuff into Operations.  How she does this is up to her, sometimes it changes one of her areas, other times she starts a new area.”

“Right.  So what’s the problem?” I asked.

“Well, it’s basically infighting.” Ingvild continued. “And the crux of it is that Janet’s Ops area thinks Sue’s Development area is unreasonable.”

“Are they?”

“Well…I don’t think so.  I’ve seen R&D or Development areas before, and Sue is solid.  Not slow by any means, but not churning stuff out at a rate that’s unreasonable.”

“And what does Janet say from the Ops view?”

“She and her people say that Sue’s area has no idea the pressure they are under, that they don’t have time for new stuff all the time.  But I’ve got a problem with ‘no new stuff’, because as you keep reminding us, without development this is going to eventually lead to us falling gently off a cliff as our offerings gradually become old school.”

“Is Ops right in their view.  Do they not have time for new stuff?”

“Well, that’s the thing.  I look at what Operations produces, they’re working hard, getting stuff done at a rate that’s pretty impressive”.

I sat and waited for her to go on.  After a while she continued.

“So I’m at a loss.  I’ve got a situation with two competent GMs, I’m happy with both of them, but together, it’s just not happening.  And before you go on…” she smiled….”I am fully aware that this is my problem and no one else’s.”

“That will save us a lot of time” I laughed.  ”So here’s what happening.  The work of your team is not integrated“. Read more…

Adam is a partner of The Working Journey a niche consultancy that designs organisations into creative accountable enterprises that deliver...using ideas such as you just read. Want to chat? Send him an email by clicking here.