When I was still at High School my Dad explained to me the difference between efficient and effective. Or in plain English, doing things right compared to doing the right things. I could see value in both and debated about what is better. It took me some time and a fairly extreme example to understand the importance of the distinction.
These days lean manufacturing, lean thinking, and lean approaches are the holy grail. Since Toyota became the standard in efficiency there are few organisations that don’t follow that herd. And boy, there are some amazing savings to be made. Having the right structure in place and everybody knows what they should be doing it is like cogs and gears churning along at full steam.
There are many things I’m not good at. Playing the guitar for example. My wife tells me I have the perfect hands to learn playing. My desire to do so is not there.
My son Niklas on the other hand decided some years ago to learn just that. He loved listening to music and he loved my wife Susani playing the guitar. I didn’t notice first he started learning to play. He’d asked Susani if he could try on the old guitar. Sure, she said.
She saw him trying and watched a while. “Stop that”, she said. She gave him her “good” guitar, which was well tuned. “Now you can hear what you are doing!”
He asked questions: how is this? why is that? listen, does that sound alright?
He listened to Youtube clips and learned with his iPod touch for hours. He got his own guitar for his next birthday. He takes more care of that then the car he’s driving.
I work in ICT for more than 20 years. It’s an ever changing and always evolving field. And I ask myself, are we different than other business areas? Initially I would say yes. The pace of ICT is unmatched. Then, I turn around and remember the day I started at my current company. An elderly lady was sitting on the factory floor and used a hand driven machine making coils. Admittedly that is more then 12 years back. Although, when I walk into production these days SMD (surface mount devices) machines put tiny electronic parts onto printed circuit boards at a phenomenal speed and accuracy. The change these guys have experienced is no less to ICT.
What has this to do with strategy? Winding back say 3 to 5 years how would we have prepared ourselves for the today’s future? What were our plans then? Did our vision then match what we have implemented today? We got here, we know that. Did we arrive in planned manner or incidental? Does it matter?
For the last week I’ve been thinking about a couple of ideas for my blog. Nothing stood out and then I received an unexpected email from Google:
Now, I’m used to read Google’s blog where they announce upcoming changes. But this one is different. It’s for me the first time that I pro-actively get a “personal” email from Google announcing an upcoming change. I’m not going to discuss or analyse the change content itself but like to look at the way it is communicated. Continue reading →
I have a workmate who has brilliant ideas. He comes up with things to improve processes or generally make tasks easier to complete. First I gave him free range. “Make it happen!”, I said to him, “and show me what you’ve done next month. Let me know if you need anything or get stuck.”