May 26, 2011

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

Simple questions are potent. They carry power to strike at the root of our assumptions; simpler a question, better the insight, a good answer can give.

Here are my questions to you: 
  • "Are you sweating the small stuff?" 
  • "Yes/No?" 
  • "How do you know either way for sure?"

Do this simple exercise to find answers. List out all the stuff you and your team sweats on and place them on the quadrant (below). 

Something that scores higher on y-axis does more of championing, sponsoring, defining, deciding, course correction and less of routine transactions. 

Business integration (y-axis) is easy to tell: ‘does it help get money in':higher if 'yes'.

(Just like many things in life, it is not yes or no or black or white exercise. Use your judgment to place activities at  places they truly deserve.)

Ask yourself or your team, “Why we do xxx activity?” for each of the activities on the list...
Do this in a brainstorming session or in a focus group.

This should help you get to the bottom of things. Watch the answers that emerge. Don't stop with an answer, some answer or any answer. Continue asking ‘Why’ till you get an answer that makes a lot of business sense, that is sensible and carries a profound meaning. If it has none of these, decide if you want to continue doing it.

Here is a generic example with activities of Quality function in typical IT Services company. Placement of activities differs with each company – do it for your organization: ask questions, seek answers and take out the stuff not worth the sweat they cause.

What are your thoughts? Share them here...
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