Smarter business decisions: 5 lessons learned
Faster, smarter, more efficiency, higher productivity: these are the themes that frequently drive our decisions and actions in today’s business context. In the face of increasing productivity demand, fewer resources, and unprecedented complexity we are challenged to work harder and to do more with less.
In our roles, supporting decision makers, we need to provide meaningful data and context that enable our business leaders to make thoughtful and accurate decisions. These needs, in addition to the pressures I listed above, have caused me to challenge some of the ways I have been taught to both think and work.
In a recent implementation we took a new approach to providing data and context to key stakeholders of this new suite of products. Our approach really boils down to being fast and not perfect. As I reflected on my biggest learnings, I found they boiled down to these five things:
- Sometimes good enough really is good enough. It’s more important to get a prototype out the door so stakeholders can review and provide feedback than it is to have perfectly formatted report, screen or chart. This also provides us with the added benefit of gathering feedback early on in the process which reduces re-work, increases speed, and gives our stakeholders the data.
- To release control. Quite often we want to be the experts, control the information, the presentation and the distribution – but who is that really helping? I think many of us in support roles need to recognize that our mission should be to enable others by giving them the information they need – or better yet, build the infrastructure so they can access the information on demand and teach them how to interpret it.
- It’s important to set the context when you are working under the mantra of “imperfect, collaboration”. If your stakeholders are expecting that perfect, polished data set and aren’t aware that you truly want them to collaborate – you are going to get feedback, potentially harsh and critical. Set your expectations in advance so your stakeholders are prepared to collaborate with you instead of working against you.
- It’s important to recognize the things that do need perfection – some items/services can’t be compromised – we need to recognize exactly what can’t be compromised and ensure that those requirements are delivered to a “T”.
- And finally, have fun with it. It’s more fun to build something great together than to sweat over something in isolation. Collaboration often creates better products in the end and it makes our long days that much better when you can experience creativity and fun with your colleagues.
Upon reflection this one project offered me a masterclass in how to more efficiently and effectively work and lead in a rapidly evolving business environment.