The “making things happen” evolution

by Bogdan on August 14, 2010

Recently I have been involved in mentoring a team of business analysts. One of the core issues was related to helping others making things happen at a faster pace.

So how are we making things happening? It all starts with a stimulus – an aggression, an emotion or just a thought (e.g. an idea)

Evolutionary speaking, the first way of getting into action was pretty straight forward:

Stimulus –> Action

This is still the most “popular” way we react to physical or emotional stimuli. It might be useful when we face a life threatening situation, but this “auto pilot” mode might be dangerous in a business situation… Luckily, the approach evolved to a better one:

Stimulus –> Thought –> Action

But when more than a thought emerges, a decision needs to be made, so our “equation” becomes:

Stimulus –> Analyze –> Decide –> Action

Here is where most of us would say … enough already. Think for a minute about a more complex situation (such as an e-commerce project), that requires detailed preparation:

Stimulus –> Analyze –> Decide –> Prepare –> Action

This is not the end: everything between Stimulus and Action can be further expanded. The analysis may be preceded by research, the decision could incorporate validation from others and the preparation could include anything between pure resourcing to simulation and testing.

With every evolutionary step, the chain of “making things happen” gets longer. So gets the time and energy spent and, if we add the “several people involved” factor into this equation, the complexity is not just adding up, is multiplying.

But really, is there any way to shorten the time between the stimulus and action while maintaining the robustness of the chain?

Well, while we have an abundance of Agile techniques and fast tracking – they all have limited applicability, as sometimes it is impossible to break down the scope / deliverables and to do parallel processing.

But there is a much better way.

For individuals is call internalization. Think of the time you learned a new skill, say, driving. In early stages, the process was similar to the long chain: analyzing, deciding, preparing, checking, etc. Experienced drivers use the short fuse, from stimulus to action, as they really are on automatic pilot mode.

This also works in the business environment and it comes under several names: procedures, processes, drills, etc. Once a successful path between stimulus to action is found and documented the entire process gets quicker – although the chain is not shortened..

So, it is very important to:

a)    Start by treating a new project by replicating the best practices in that field
b)    After every new endeavor is closed, document the lessons learned
c)    Fine tune the business processes and work procedures according to previous two points (a and b)

What other shorting techniques do you currently use?

{ 2 comments }

Enable An Immune System

March 10, 2010

Is there any doctor who would care first about the immune system of his patients rather than of his own? Do you know any farmer who intentionally leaves the weeds to invade his crop? How many pessimists do you know who have achieved significant success? Have you ever read of a top athlete who does [...]

Read the full article →

Signs of a Graze Living

February 21, 2010

How many of us have experienced the following signs of living in a shallow world? We don’t take enough time to fully engage anymore: there are way too many things on our plates, and we want to taste them all (as they all seem delicious), and even more and more new kinds of nibbles are [...]

Read the full article →

The Butterfly Effect

February 17, 2010

How a small, unpredicted change in a part of a system may produce terrible effects in another part of the system, and what to do about avoiding the entire chaos The Butterfly Effect is a term from chaos theory: in simple words, the wing movements of a butterfly in New Zealand may cause tornadoes somewhere [...]

Read the full article →

Signs of Immaturity

February 14, 2010

Have you ever asked yourself which are the very first signs of a person who is immature? As for today I am in the 40+ age category group: but let me make this crystal clear – age does not equal maturity. Also, acting as an adult in one area does not imply acting the same [...]

Read the full article →