Too Busy Chopping Wood to Sharpen the Axe
I really like this saying (insert Canadian lumberjack stereotype joke here).
From a company standpoint this means that leadership has to manage “many moving parts” and focus on day-to-day operations, neglecting the long-term strategic picture. This is a problem that can affect all companies regardless of size, industry, ownership structure or current market conditions.
A few examples:
Established industrial companies that have had relatively consistent workloads for years, now faced with changing markets. Factories in the Baltic States and Eastern Europe now have same quality end products, more modern manufacturing machinery, and substantially cheaper labour wages.
Organisational mindset in wood industry and machine component industry is aimed towards increasing efficiency and decreasing costs. This practice has been going on for years, resulting in “optimised” production units with limited resources allocated towards Business Development and Strategic Sales. This is hard to change and will take time – start now!
The perpetual tendency of young technology companies to focus resources on further development of existing product to make them “perfect” before the product is on the market. In many of these situations funding is normally limited and companies get tied into the cycle of they can’t launch their platform because its not “perfect” and they can’t receive more funding because they don’t have an operational platform.
A more seasoned Tech Entrepreneur would understand the strategic value and challenge in a quick(er) launches paired with extensive sales activities, knowing every launch is a learning experience.
Large National Food Company
Pressure from global markets would assume the need for new innovative thinking. Pioneers like Linas Matkasse have shown the potential in disruption. Still management gets stuck managing endless meetings and internal politics. The pipeline for development projects focuses on (sub)-optimisation of current operations. No surprise then that the company is always second to market with new products.
Yes we agree that executing operational activities is essential, but if you never take time to sharpen the axe your situation will never improve.
Winter is Coming!