Beware the apologists – Consistent Performance
The most common complaint that I hear these days from big-company executives is that their organizations although their companies have frameworks for everything from strategy and planning, to operations and program management, to capital investment, they cannot consistently perform at a high level. My first response to them? “Beware the apologists”.
Apologists are dangerous because they mask shortcomings, particularly a lack of organizational:
Consistent Performance – Understanding the Apologist
In settling for results that are “good enough” or “close enough”, apologists often influence others and make it very hard to identify many organizational problems. If and when a management team recognizes its organization suffers from one or more of these significant issues, it will often launch an internal initiative to identify and address them. At the very least, many executives feel like this gives them some cover should the problems be called out at the highest levels of management. This “go buy the book” approach to solutioning is usually doomed to fail even before the first dollar is spent, however, because of issues with organizational design, the drag these issues cause, and a lack of broad executive sponsorship.
Consistent Performance – Outside Expertise
Bringing in outside expertise can significantly improve your chances of success for a number of reasons. First, it mitigates functional area leadership agendas and can therefore also help secure the broad executive support which is so critical to success. Second, though insiders have more expertise with respect to the organization, outsiders often have greater expertise when it comes to correcting these types of broad-based and significant challenges. Why? Because most insiders, even at the senior management level, have only worked for 2-3 large organizations, and they only know what they’ve seen, whereas experienced consultants have often seen and even benchmarked dozens of similar companies for consistent performance. In fact, it is this relative lack of comparison points and benchmark data that helps apologists in their efforts. So again, beware the apologists, and avoid the temptation to just “buy the book” when it comes to consistent performance.