Yes, Officer. I did see the speed limit sign. I just didn’t see you!
I’ve been reading about the impact of traffic signs that show motorists their speed. These are often put up in residential areas or construction zones. The purpose is to give feedback to the driver about how fast they are going. And it seems to work. I know that when I am driving I have, like many others, the tendency to drive and think of other things at the same time. Not the best approach to safe driving, but very natural for all of us. So when a motorist sees a digital sign that displays his/her actual speed, it helps us switch off autopilot, check our speed and pay more attention to safe driving.
And the statistics are favourable. According to one study 75% of drivers who see their car speed flashed up immediately slow down and are more cautious, staying within the speed limit for approximately 5 miles after passing the digital sign.
To me, this is a great example of the power of “Personalising Data”; that is, making it about me and not just otherwise impersonal information. For example, a printed speed sign, say 35 mph, is impersonal and really doesn’t get much of our attention in this fast-moving, data overload world we live in. But a flashing digital speed sign that specifically focuses on me and my speed, becomes “personalised data” and, as the study shows, the impact lasts for miles after the event.
So, what’s this got to do with strategy execution? Quite a lot, actually. One of the reasons most strategies fail is that the information given out at most meetings, like current revenue, current forecast, current EBITDA, sales funnel numbers, customer service scores, etc. are useful, but impersonal. They are collective numbers and collectively we are supposed to do something about them, either reverse a negative trend or keep a positive trend going.
In these types of meetings or business reviews, everyone nods their heads, makes notes, promises to do better, then it’s back to business as usual. The data wasn’t personal and so the strategy lumbers along, often sidelined by daily “firefighting” and immediate problem solving.
“Every seasoned executive knows that if everyone is accountable, nobody’s accountable!”
Our unique Line-of-Sight™ Strategy Execution process, however, has built-in “personalised data”. Strategic initiatives have specific individual owners who are fully accountable to the entire organisation for the delivery of an important piece of the strategic plan. And each member of the senior leadership team is personally accountable for one or more strategic initiatives. And when your project data is shown during the strategy review meetings, in front of all the other executives, this data suddenly becomes very personal. Peer pressure to perform well, not let the team down, to “look good” to the boss, and all the other human factors associated with personal motivation now come strongly into focus. “Personalized Data” helps you and I take the situation personally and the impact in terms of correction actions, focused countermeasures, and improving results is focused and substantial.
Most people say: “Don’t take it personal, it’s just business!” But I say:
“Take it personal. It’s about leadership!”
Tight Lines . . .
John R Childress