In 1997, Netflix launched its rent-by-mail DVD service, going head to head with the market incumbent Blockbuster. Staying true to its mission statement of "we want to entertain the world", Netflix pivoted from a rent-by-mail DVD service to a video streaming service in 2007. Staying focused on its "why" helped Netflix build a $300B entertainment company instead of the next best alternative to Blockbuster. At a glance:
Why?: Why are you doing what you're doing?
Transparency: What few want but all need
This week's podcast
Let's dive in.
Have you ever been at work and wondered "why am I doing what I am doing"?
When you show up to work every day, you probably rarely ask why you do the things that you do. You are not alone. Going through the motions without questioning or knowing the reason for which you are doing a task is all too common. But, why? Solution monomania Ever heard of it? You've definitely seen it in action. Solution monomania is when people become hyper-focused on a specific solution to a problem to the exclusion of all else including the reasons the solution was being implemented in the first place. "But my boss told me to" This is a classic response that indicates a misalignment between management and the execution team on a particular project. When a management team fails to articulate a clear business problem that a solution is meant to address, the team tasked to execute is left fumbling in the dark trying to implement a solution for a problem that may no longer even exist. The result... ... a solution that either completely misses the mark or may even make the problem worse!. If wasted manpower and time doesn't sound painful enough, you can not forget about the millions of dollars lost along the way.
Transparency, transparency, transparency
If management and employees are not open and honest with each other from the start of a project, there is no point in starting. No team can build an effective solution to the problem without a clear understanding of all that is at play. Accountability and communication Within an organization, it is critical that accountability is taken seriously. Documentation and accountability tend to get a bad reputation, especially in agile organizations, but are key to project and company success for the following reasons:
Employees know who to ask the why's to. When employees have questions or wonder why they are doing what they are doing, they are able to ask the correct decisionmaker who identified the initial problem.
Goals are set and continuously communicated. With a clearly defined "why" that is transparently communicated across the organization, employees and management can set goals to make sure that the solution being built is worth the investment and actually solving the problem.
Motivate the troops Transparency can, and should, be leveraged to empower employees. When management is transparent with employees about the companies goals, strengths, and weaknesses, employees are able to understand how their work is impacting the organization. With a full understanding of the organization, employees are able to be creative and contribute beyond the scope that management had originally defined. Creative employees that understand how and why they are contributing to the organization, are more effective and less wasteful as a result. To kill or not to kill Even with transparency across the board and clear communication, some projects are not going to be worth the investment of time and money. That is okay and normal. What is important is that the project is actually killed if there is no ROI. If left to linger due to no one wanting to act and kill the project, the cycle of time and money-wasting will continue.
Episode 6 | How To Produce Value & Increase Capacity For More Useful Work
Does your business suffer from Solution Monomania?
It’s a creeping menace that devastates your financial and resource investment(s) when solving a problem - you need to be able to identify it.
Jon and Sam define Solution Monomania and equip you with magic-bullet solutions that you can implement right now to eliminate it and prevent it from developing again.
They also discuss a consulting philosophy that will allow you to continue to produce value and increase your business’ capacity for useful work at the same time…
Take us with you on your morning commute or stroll to your home office: