Fire bullets before cannonballs: Jim Collins’ method for validating ideas, Why Great Employees Leave “Great Cultures” & Are you holding the stick?
14 August 2022 Newsletter
“Go as far as you can see; when you get there you’ll see farther.” – Thomas Carlyle
Hope you’re Thriving!
It’s been an energetic week with four full-day workshops and a few other interesting meetings with teams.
There are so many components that are required to make a company either very good, or great. Last week, I spoke about Daily Huddles which seemed to resonate with many of you, but that’s just one part, of many.
In the book Scaling Up, we discussed the Four Decisions that you need to get right – People, Strategy, Execution and Cash. Then within that, there are multiple other things that you need to keep operating well.
In society, many people think that great ideas are the hard part and the part that makes great businesses, but great ideas are a dime a dozen; in truth, it’s discipline, a relentless focus on the boring basics that make a great business.
That means getting things to really stick – like the daily huddles, or high-quality execution, or people initiatives. It’s the relentless focus on the boring basics, repeating the same thing. That’s really the hard part.
Why Great Employees Leave “Great Cultures”
As a quick update, we’re due to announce a launch date for my new book about onboarding in the coming month or so.
In that book, two of the things I discuss are the cost of attrition and behaviours, a subset of core values. I’ve been rolling out behaviours with many of the teams I work with over the past few months, and it’s been an excellent compliment to Core Values and a much more effective tool for managers. It helps turn the cultural and behavioural aspects from qualitative to more quantitative – and makes managers’ jobs much easier.
This week I came across an excellent HBR article that helps explain the importance of behaviours to an organisation.
From the article:
“Clarifying expected behaviors for employees holds leaders accountable as well. Does a manager value face-time more than outcomes? Is a leader always ten minutes late to a meeting? How often does starting a meeting five minutes late roll into people showing up unprepared? These are the real-world behaviors of culture and values. Before we realize it, the organization becomes known for late meetings, face-time, or reactive and apathetic leadership. Employees become reactive. And then we wonder why we have an attrition problem.”
Read the article here: Why Great Employees Leave “Great Cultures“
Best new song
I can’t remember the last time a new song made me say WOW, and I couldn’t get it out of my head. At first, I was amazed at how the tempo went from really slow to really quick, in a way I’d never heard another song do, and then the way it honoured or sounded like Michael Jackson.
I hope you enjoy: Afraid to Feel LF SYSTEM
Are you holding the stick?
I recently held a presentation on my first book Made to Thrive where at one point I show the image below of a man in office attire who is holding one end of a piece of metal, while at the other end another man is oxy-welding it.
Through the visual, I’m suggesting that leaders often don’t know their roles and end up doing other people’s jobs – which is the key principle in the book (don’t do other people’s jobs, and what the roles actually are).
The gag is that the leader in the image is doing a job that a pile of bricks could effectively do. Such is the ineffectiveness of some leaders. Of course, instead, leaders should do their roles – Accountability, Ambassador, Culture, Strategy and Succession Planning.
It was pointed out to me this week that Qantas is asking senior executives to do other people’s jobs, such is the crisis to find baggage handlers. No doubt they’ve got a crisis to resolve, and this might be an excellent interim solution.
But it still begs the question, are you doing your or other people’s jobs?
Are you holding the stick?
Read about the Qantas request here: Qantas asks executives to work as baggage handlers for three months
And finally, out of the department of “Things you never knew you never wanted to know” comes an exciting hit this week from ESPN, the American sports network that hosted the “All-Star Battle for the World Championships for Microsoft Excel”.
It’s hilarious just how much fun the commentators have. And the comments on the video link below with over 200,000 views.
If you’re so compelled, you can watch a 30-minute replay here: Excel Esports: ALL-STAR BATTLE
This week on The Growth Whisperers podcast
Fire bullets before cannonballs: Jim Collins’ method for validating ideas
What does it mean to fire bullets before cannonballs? Often leaders are too bold or alternatively too conservative. Instead of taking too much or too little risk, the concept of firing bullets before cannonballs asks leaders to validate an idea with a series of small, low-risk experiments. Once you have validated your idea, then you can concentrate your resources on a big bet idea.
From Jim Collins:
“The ability to turn small proven ideas (bullets) into huge hits (cannonballs) counts more than the sheer amount of pure innovation.”
No one is smart enough or experienced enough to know what will or won’t work. Only the market can tell us that.
People intuitively say something will definitely succeed OR definitely fail. But we don’t know.
In this episode, Brad and Kevin talk about the fire bullets before cannonballs concept, why it matters and how you can use it in your business.
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