Tripp Babbitt’s blog and newsletters on New Systems Thinking has really been growing on me.
Since meeting Tripp at a regional speaking event, he’s shared a ton of his knowledge and experience with me directly, in his newsletter, and on his blog.
One of the reasons I think I enjoy his writing and lessons so much is that Tripp ferociously analyzes businesses and often finds that the measurements and goals never align with the actual problems.
Case in point was a company that measures the number of customer support calls and rewards its customer teams based on the volume of calls they’re able to complete. As Tripp explains, the company didn’t analyze why they were getting the calls and what the cost of a customer service team was as compared to correcting the root problems that caused the calls in the first place.
The problem and the symptom are divided between two departments that never work with each other and don’t have common goals. There’s no benefit to fixing the original issue since the problems it causes are simply handed off to the next department.
For quite some time I’ve been an advocate of finding what works and fine-tuning it, rather than concentrating on what doesn’t work.
There are a lot of famous leaders and business systems that believe in the opposite… they’ll tell you that if you’re 99% successful, you should be working to improve that last 1%. It’s an infinitely frustrating process and leaves a trail of fired and frustrated employees.
I believe successful leaders, companies and strategies maximize success rather than trying to minimize failure:
- In social media, I’ve been an advocate for enabling and empowering companies to use social media rather than applying rules and boundaries.
- In blogging, I try to ensure the content I write is all about encouraging readers to try new technologies rather than avoiding them.
- As a leader, I believe in matching employee talent to the needs of the organization rather than trying to force employees into positions of assured failure. If you have a wrench, don’t tell it that it’s not a good hammer. Go get a hammer if that’s what you need.
- In online marketing, it’s essential that you continue to tweak what works with your online marketing rather than trying to figure out fixing what never worked. Of course you should experiment when opportunities arise, but push your audience in the direction of success rather than trying to simply avoid failure.
- Even as a parent, I’ve found this method a far healthier one. If my kids loved Math (which they do) but didn’t like Social Studies, I didn’t make them read history books every night… I encouraged them more in Math. (I did demand decent grades across all subjects, though). Both my kids have great grades… and my son is now an honors student at IUPUI, in Math and Physics.
I was even reading over at Sparkpeople, a site for those of us who are overweight and looking to get healthy, that recent studies have shown that people that exercise for 10 minutes a day have more success than those who work out the prescribed 90 minutes. The shorter workout provides a feeling of accomplishment (rather than agony) and folks were more likely to stick with the routine.