30 January 2015

Business exec Jack Welch once said: “An organisation’s ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage.”

the_thinker_300x225Talking through a challenge with my team earlier in the week, I was reminded of this quote and how, when you’re too focussed on analysing things and working out how every single piece of information could be interpreted, you risk losing sight of the bigger picture.

I don’t struggle with this myself because I’m more of a problem solver and less of an analyst, which is why I’m so lucky to have Gail. She’s great at it and very seldom gets bogged down. However, it’s all too easy to slip into this trap.

For me, looking at my team’s challenge from the outside, from a different perspective, I instantly realised they’d got stuck in the analysing stage of the process. Rather than stepping back and working out the steps to take in order to move forwards, they still had their eyes on the page, looking down, rather than looking up and out.

Analysing data is important only if you can translate that quickly into action. Otherwise, you end up doing nothing. And one of the biggest misconceptions about doing nothing is the belief that even though you’re not moving forwards, you’re not moving backwards either. In reality this simply isn’t true. There is no standing still.

So you can stand around analysing something until the cows come home, but without action, problems don’t get solved. The wheels become stuck and you start sliding backwards, down the road you’ve just come.

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