Management is full of solutions…
There is always another management solution. Something that we must invest in. Over the past 20 years or so the solutions I have seen include:
- Big Data
- Big Scale Value Analysis
- Customer Journey Mapping
- Customer Relationship Management
- Customer Satisfaction Measurement
- Business Process Re-engineering
- Business Process Outsourcing
- Near Shoring
- Off Shoring
- On Shoring
- Rapid Process Digitisation
- Operational Excellence
- Agile Development
- Six Sigma
- Lean Six Sigma
The good lord alone knows what else I have forgotten.
Pick your flavour
If that isn’t enough solutions for you, you can call upon any one of the large consulting houses. They will persuade you that their brand of the solution is proprietary and infinitely better than anybody else’s. Then they will gladly sell it to you for several hundred thousand pounds.
You can spend an awful lot of money on solutions.
But you can’t define a solution without a problem
At the risk of stating the obvious — but I have built a blog on it — for a solution to work you need to have a problem to apply it to.
I call it the law of the instrument, and it may be formulated as follows: Give a small boy a hammer, and he will find that everything he encounters needs pounding ~ Abraham Kaplan
Regard anybody who tells you that “the problem is we don’t have [insert favoured solution]” with the deepest suspicion.
And you can’t define a problem without a direction
This one is less obvious, but equally valid. To articulate your problem you need to have a direction. If you don’t know where you are going you won’t know if you are not getting there. Problems only exist within the context of an expectation.
The perception of a problem is always relative. Your headache feels terrific to the druggist
~ Ramona E. F. Arnett
It isn’t that the solutions are bad
I have absolutely no doubt that Apple and Amazon, Ritz Carlton and South West Airlines, John Lewis and McDonald’s, — whichever poster company you want to talk about — has used all of the above to great effect. But they used the solution to get over a problem which was stopping them from getting where they wanted to be. They had a direction.
Before you invest in the latest management solution, define your problem. Before you do that, decide where you are going.
Start with a direction, not a solution.
PS – Being cheaper isn’t a direction. It is a dead-end.
If you enjoyed this post click here to receive the next
Read another opinion
Image by James Bowe