The Problem of TMI (Too Much Information)
How many times have you made a decision that seemed to make sense at the time, but in retrospect, turned out to be less than optimal?
Many times, it is not your fault. Leaders become trapped in a conflicting world. They get mountains of input from everywhere; news events, markets, customers, vendors, and even everyone inside the organization. Sometimes the information is incomplete. Sometimes it is not accurate. Sometimes it is complicated and difficult to understand. Sometimes it conflicts with other information. It is the leader’s job to sift through all this stuff and determine the direction of the organization.
Small wonder that decisions are made that seem to make sense at the time, but do not always play out as anticipated.
The solution? Steven Covey said something simple, yet profound: “Begin with the end in mind.” When we begin with the end in mind, we create a powerful filter that allows us to keep less relevant stuff from getting in the way of the information really needed to make decisions.
As an example, let us say that we determine the end goal to be a 25% increase in sales. Then we get information about a new market segment that might be interesting to penetrate. At the same time, we get information that the price of office supplies is going up. Which should get our attention? Unless the price of office supplies will affect the goal of increasing sales, we should ignore it.
A floodlight spreads light all over. However, a spotlight focuses light on a certain specific area. It is the same with determining the direction of the Company. It is important to take a floodlight approach when thinking about possibilities for the future. However, once the direction has been determined, it is time to bring out the spotlight and shine it brightly on the specific direction that has been agreed upon by the leadership team.
When properly focused, a spotlight acts as a filter for everyone in the organization. It shines light on the most important things and keeps everyone’s attention RIVETED on them.
Mentally, it can difficult to keep the spotlight on long-term goals. The solution: break your long-term goals into 90-day segments, and review their progress with your team weekly. You know the best way to eat and elephant, right? One bite at a time. That is how 90-day goals work. They turn big hairy audacious goals into bite-size pieces.
Yes, there will be the occasional temptation to rethink the old, or to expand the spotlight on to things that were excluded from the current direction. There will also be the temptation look at new and shiny things that appear very exciting. Just when you think things are moving in the right direction, our friend Murphy comes to pay a visit (Remember Murphy’s Law?).
What does that all mean? It means DON’T GIVE UP. Stay focused on the spotlighted stuff. Yes, it takes incredible discipline. Yes, it takes incredible courage. Yes, it sometimes even takes incredible creativity to work around the roadblocks that show up. Don’t quit. You stay focused. Bruce Mau said, “The brick walls are there to show us how badly we want something.”
The spotlighted 90-day goals create focus. Focus builds intensity. Intensity builds momentum. Momentum builds inertia. The law of inertia: an object in motion stays in motion, unless acted upon by an outside force.
Just remember success is only 90 days away. You can do it! TMI? Not a problem…