Thursday, January 3, 2013

Fried Chicken and Lousy Business Execution

I was amused to read this news item today of an enterprising pair of burglars who were attempting to break into a jewellery store by cutting through a common wall shared with a bathroom facility behind the jewellery store.

Unfortunately, the bathroom facility also shared a wall with a KFC and so when they broke through the wall, they and the staff of the KFC were equally surprised to see each other.

Undeterred and demonstrating some quick thinking, the burglars impromptuously held up the KFC and made off with some cash before being caught later.

Alas ….. this is what happens when great intentions and poor execution come together.

Business is no different

I had a conversation with a prospect recently who was lamenting the fact that despite having adopted the best processes that they could find in their industry, their results were actually worse than before they started.

“What problem did you identify that caused you to adopt these processes?”, I asked.

His reply was surprisingly candid. “We had evolved to a point where we simply couldn’t work together”, he said.

“Did you figure out why you couldn’t work together?”, I asked.

“No – why does that matter?”, he replied.

“Because if you didn’t know what the problem was, how did you go about selecting a solution?”, I asked.

The light bulb that went off in his head was so bright that it blinded me on the other end of the phone.

Before you pick a solution ….

Powerful processes, fantastic frameworks and beautiful best-practices (and awesome alliteration) are all well and good.

But if you don’t know what the problem is, then the solutions you are layering over the problem often become contributors to a larger problem instead of contributors towards a solution.

If, when a problem is identified and a solution selected, the problem and solution can’t stand up to the scrutiny of “how do you know?” in a measurable way, I’d be willing to bet you haven’t identified either very well.

Some people are happy to execute anyway with the blind optimism that everything will just “work out”.

That’s like leaving your office and driving around the building in ever-increasing circles until you eventually arrive home by accident, hours or days later instead of what could have been minutes … unless you run out of fuel, fall asleep at the wheel or get derailed by a detour.

Intelligent execution is everything

If one doesn’t execute intelligently, strategically and with effective tactical roadmaps, it is very difficult to anticipate what the end result will look like.

However, to blindly execute anyway with good intentions and poor execution, as in the case of these two burglars, produces a higher likelihood that you will end up with fried chicken instead of diamonds.

Now that’s fine if you like fried chicken.

But then again, if fried chicken is your thing, you can buy a lot more with a fistful of diamonds.

In service and servanthood,


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