Today’s marketplace requires more action than ever from managers and their teams who want to remain competitive in a global economy. We don’t have to tell you that many business decisions are not for the faint of heart. Even the simple ones. Their impact can lead to more market share or leave your company on the curb.
This blogcast is about motion. Momentum. Flurries of activity. Getting things done. It’s about a bias for action. It invites you to not only be forward-thinking but forward-moving. It gets you used to the extraordinariness of your people!
So, here’s what we’re proposing.
- Substitute quick-hit pilots and prototypes for lengthy proposals.
- Replace talk with trial runs and tests.
- Find trial sites and field champions for new service and product ideas.
- Test an idea now (at least a little chunk of it).
- Don’t wait.
- Strike some sparks.
- Pilot-test a lot of things, then submit a strong proposal based on an already well-defined initial success record.
- Ready…Fire…Aim! (This phrase was originally made popular by Peters and Waterman, In Search of Excellence, 1982 — and is still a powerful metaphor today as it relates to employee engagement)
The scenario goes something like this: There is a slow, methodical, low-level (almost imperceptible) start. A tiny inkling of things to come. This toe-in-the-water beginning is followed by a wildly efficient launch, fueled by word of mouth and roll-up-your-sleeves work from the field. The thing’s working. Excitement builds. Most pieces of the maverick program have been field-tested (piloted) already. Momentum builds. Kinks are worked out. Wrinkles smoothed. Refinements orchestrated—proudly and passionately, we might add. Colleagues leap onto the bandwagon, insisting that their operation host the next pilot for this innovative field-designed product development (service enhancement, quality assurance, productivity improvement, sales enrichment) program.
Most proposals, as you know, fall victim to endless, hypothetical debate. After all, no support data exists to give it a fair hearing. It just makes good business sense to build a ground swell, using small, strategically-placed pilot projects in the field, supported by field champions. This strategy turns out to be one of the most effective … and bold … and efficient … and cost effective ways to implement, well, anything.
This pilot-test-modify-test again-fail-reexamine-test-scrap-begin again proposal building method will bring you the hard evidence you need to sell your idea. This approach is scientific. It’s field-tested empiricism at its best. It’s data-driven and field-activated, too. Proposal-churning pales by comparison. Speculation gives way to hard data. What-if’s become mute in the face of already-dones.
Ready yourselves for the launch. Fire the furnace of field-to-headquarters involvement. Aim for a fifty percent reduction in time to first tangible test for an average project, training module, pre-test market, software subsystem, market niche, etc. Field-test, then propose. Field-test, then propose. Field-test… (You get the picture). And then enjoy the power of a productive, engaged, inspired workforce!