Going for Everything Can Get You Nothing

As business leaders we often try to get so much done that we overload our systems and people – with predictable results. Here’s an example of what can happen and some ideas of how to do it better.

Several years ago I was an eager (and in my opinion, excellent) Product Marketing professional.  It was my daily mission to gather customer feedback, review competitive products, analyze new technology and then harass Research and Development Engineers to get new features added to the product development timeline.

My tunnel-vision, department-focused mission created more work that had to be delivered in the same timeframe. Engineers dreaded meeting with Product Marketers - me included. Within the organization it seemed that every department struggled  with one another. The department driven mind-set perpetuated endless battles under the guise of “priorities” that supposedly served customers while obtaining market share.

Sound familiar? Your organization may also have employees confusing enthusiasm or department objectives with organizational priorities. In most organizations there tends to be a delicate dance between realistic timelines and delighting customers. Any misalignment can quickly derail organizational deadlines.

Fantasy, meet Reality

Without clear leadership, communication and a picture of the future, employees typically spiral into emergency work modes that eventually burn-out even the most dedicated workers.  So how can an organization create firm guidelines regarding a product release or service? With clear, realistic priorities that support company objectives.

When there is a defined objective, issues such as sliding product deadlines or adding features can easily be agreed upon by several departments. Having a clear objective does not mean that there won’t be issues – unexpected  challenges will still create pressure – but being in an emergency work mode will not be the norm.

Actions you can take today

  1. Get clear. Help everyone in the organization really understand success. Pick the top 3 things that need to happen. Make sure they are measurable and doable. Write them on a wall, and stick to them. Bonus points if you see or hear other people using those objectives to figure out together what they should do next.
  2. Unite departments. Help teams understand they should focus on organizational success first, and their success second. Look for a goal that will require their cooperation to achieve, and make it the goal for all teams involved. Bonus points if the teams come back with a better goal than the one you picked.

Chris Hutchinson, CEO

Streamlining an organization is never easy. That’s why it’s great to be able to learn from one another.  For additional actions you can take and an open blog discussion regarding organizational challenges, visit www.trebuchetgroup.com/our-blog/