Way too much B.S. in business today.
As I listen to the business news and even to my own clients talk about their business often all I can think about is calling it B.S. While what you are thinking right now might be appropriate in many cases what I mean by B.S. is BAD STRATEGY. This new B.S. is becoming an epidemic in business today.
Over all in today’s business world too little attention is spent on real and effective long term strategic planning. Companies worry more about next quarter’s results than if they will be around a year from now. Companies declare a set of goals, often focused on internally focused results versus value delivery. This declaration of goals is assumed to be their strategy. But without a plan on how those goals will be achieved and what it takes to achieve them the goals are really just intentions to achieve something and not a plan to do it. I can say I want to go Paris on vacation this year but unless I have plan to purchase tickets, book hotels, create an itinerary it is just an intention. To turn that intention into accomplishing something depends on my execution of tasks that will get me my Paris vacation. Without a plan to execute, it is all just B.S.
People confuse Mission and Vision statements and strategy. Mission and Vision are your intentions, the strategy is the roadmap on how to achieve them. Strategy requires aligning the resources of the organization in a way where the results match the intention or outcome. Failure to execute a strategy is quite often a result of B.S. Bad strategies lead to bad results. When I see a company mission statement says that customers are important and never once mentions customer metrics in their public reporting you just have to say B.S.
Here are some examples. Delta Airlines a few years ago stated they were sending all 11,000 of their customer facing people to “charm school” in reaction to numerous customer complaints and deteriorating customer satisfaction scores. Their intention was to retain and grow a loyal customer base. However, while teaching the front line how to smile and say please and thank you, they forgot about changing operating policies and personnel practices which were the real sources of customer frustration. Their people could become charming but not empowered to help customers and so it was like putting lip stick on the pig. It annoyed the pig and it was not any better looking. This was B.S. because they did not align their whole organization to achieve the real goal which was more loyal customers who were supposed to be delighted to fly Delta. News reports, viral videos and blogs galore showed that their intent was not matched by a strategic plan aligned to meet their goals.
Second example. A company declares how important customer experience is to their business. Every time the company touches a customer they want a magic moment. They want to make their brand special. At the same time someone in operations decides to outsource their call centers to an outside and often offshore vendor to save costs. While this is not B.S. per se, it becomes so when the vendor negotiations focuses on cost per call, time to resolution etc. without also making sure that the customer experience and value delivered to the customer represents the brand. Those outside service providers must be aligned to the same customer success goals as the marketing department or what the CEO may have declared as important. There is often a huge disconnect between the procurement people negotiating an outside sourcing deal and the intention of the organizations brand promise. It is B.S. if the vendor staff does not feel the same pride and project the brand values of the organizations they represent.
So, stop the B.S. by:
- Linking intentions with effective execution and aligning resources
- Looking ahead with a longer term plan where short term results can add to the long term success and not detract from it due to expediency
- Get help from professionals who know strategy, let them guide your organization and coach them to become better executives focused on execution
Most of all without a focus on your most important assets, your customers, it will all be B.S. That is my opinion, what’s yours?