If it ain’t broke, fix it. And fast.
I bet you read that headline twice, didn’t you?
It may seem backwards, but stay with me here.
Early this week I was with a Senior VP of Operations for a Fortune 200 company. I asked a few of my standard battery of questions about business operations, operational excellence and what new initiatives that were underway.
When I asked about business operations, an innocent and perhaps an overly broad question, I received a vigorous and somewhat surprising response.
Here’s what he said.
“Everything is going great! All of our operating metrics are trending up. Quality and pace are improving. Costs are dropping, particularly as we redeploy to the cloud. However, we are starting from scratch in many areas and dispensing with our traditional methodologies and recreating how we function despite solid results.”
Counter intuitive? Perhaps not.
I once heard a saying that went something like this.
“Your processes are perfectly designed to get you the results you are getting right now.”
Read that again. It is a powerful statement.
So are the results you’re getting now where you want to be? I don’t know an executive who would say yes to that question. And you shouldn’t either.
My friend has a keen grasp on the macro operating environment, e.g. beyond the horizon of his current operating responsibility set. Knowing that his competitors may leapfrog him as they adopt new technologies, keeps him on his toes. Even those competitors who may not share the same level of excellence his organization has created.
The business playing field can be tilted even more in favor of companies who innovate, ensuring they stay at the forefront of increasing business velocity. Particularly for those who do it before it becomes necessary. (Read: too late.)
To tip the scales your way in the world of ‘every company is a software company’, you must:
- Implement new principles like DevOps, Agile, and continuous improvement
- Be driven by the knowledge that what is new today will soon be old
- Prepare for (or better yet, invent!) the next set of industry changing technologies haven’t even been developed yet
So keep breaking, reinventing and stay ahead of the also-rans!
After all, where would Steve Prefontaine have been if he’d said, “I am an extraordinary runner, I think I’ll stop trying to improve now.”