Can Versus Should

Photo by  Jason Strull  on  Unsplash

Photo by Jason Strull on Unsplash

Bad decisions don’t always start out that way. Most begin as an outgrowth of best intentions.

  • “Let’s squeeze more efficiency out of our core business, reducing our year-on-year expense budget by 10%.”
  • “We should be operating at 15% higher asset utilization than we did last year.”
  • “We need to diversify our customer base by increasing our national account logos by 25% in the coming year, whatever the margins. We can make up the difference through higher pricing to smaller customer accounts that have fewer alternatives.”
  • “Our investors expect a 35% year-over-year growth rate, so we need to focus on more capacity creation and we’ll address the return on investment (ROI) requirements for these projects later. We don’t have time to be overly analytical.”

When organizations focus on “our products” or “our financial performance” or “our growth,” they greatly restrict their field of vision by shifting from their role in a larger value system to the molecular activities of a single market participant. Also known as “navel gazing,” this self-indulgent focus on internal operations with an eye toward one’s own outcomes is almost always short-sighted, and invariably compromises long-term relationships.

Having an others orientation matters. Thinking about customers in the decision around new services, or really thinking about the impact of new office hours on employees and their families goes along way with audiences when we are ready to change things up.

Photo by  Brooke Cagle  on  Unsplash

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

When driving change to create greater value, customer-driven organizations move beyond asking “can we successfully change our business” to “should we change our business, and if so, what value does this create for our customers (or employees)?”

When organizations intentionally do right by the people they serve, and that help delivers on the mission, they enjoy greater levels of success and engagement because the changes benefit those impacted. 

Just because we can doesn’t mean we should.

Change for change's sake is simply thrash. Stop the thrash. Get intentional about good work done well.