My Plan to Live to 100

Many of my colleagues and associates agree with me that “business by seat of the pants and following conventional wisdom with many outdated misconceptions” is an unhealthy norm for many in business at all levels.

In a web article  “What do I want my Epitaph and Legacy to Be?” Gary Cokins, CPIM at Global Product Marketing Manager for Performance Management at SAS this month got my attention to read on. In it this extract he says:

“To really understand what is going on and what can happen, you have to go beyond traditional beliefs and complacent thinking. That means getting to the underlying causes that drive outcomes. Just as scientists build computer models to understand interactions, such as astronomers studying gravitational effects of heavenly bodies, organizations should escalate their application of analytics to model behavior. But alas, management science is more art than science. What is the problem with organizations?”

His article goes on to make challenging and compelling points so well with the quality assertion that “the impediments are all social, such as human nature resistance to change >>”,

Gary’s thought provoking challenges end with his obituary based goal to get the point made in all perpetuity.

My assertion of folly in continuing these sloppy business approaches as they are flawed as inherent margin for error is collapsing. Previous tactical recovery facilitated by inbuilt time lags for intuition testing are shorter and also breaking down further, as supply chain driven capability and consumer driven business change accelerates. Time is of the essence to have better capability for business performance control especially as markets tighten.

The need to be more inquiring and always questioning of business activity and related behaviors as well as social aspects are at the very heart of all performance. This is one element business fails to understand well and measure. Finding a way to make the human and social aspects an asset on the balance sheet and embedded in the ROI is the elusive and often considered pie in the sky ambition by most business cultures.

Long time commitments to similar ideals have followed me and my peers in finance and business domains and latterly in our software based business change consulting practice. We know planning modeling and measured analysis with due diligence effort drives efficient and effective performance behaviors. I have for many years been a contemporary of this theorem and like many other converts, I applaud Gary’s attention catching headline and introduction excerpt. Kaplan and other thought leaders included, I am sure would agree and understand both the zeal and passion he has to get social aspect of business performance resolved and the real message over.

Reflecting on this I have similar flirtations with posthumous testaments with an acid test to some of my own baseline consulting challenges and to my business friends. When I suggest they implement similar measurement and modeling processes I imagine now I can tell people I plan to live to 100 and extract a promise as reward to come to my wake.

Obviously business call backs and references are our reward but I guess if I did that I would really be know for sure if I had hit the mark well, on that day if my clients turn up.

The good news for Gary is I am a little older than him having already passed that magic 60 number. So I may be able to do a quick litmus test for him when I get to 100. Then he can change his epitaph to “I did it!!”

I hope together with our respective communities we can convince business on that. In the meantime I continue as a supporter and I recommended his writing.

One thought on “My Plan to Live to 100

  1. Gordon,

    Thank you for taking the time to read and tell others about my December, 2008 “epitaph” blog. I like your idea of the “number of consulting clients who show up at your wake” as the final KPI on how well your advice guided them.

    Related to our two blogs on this topic of behavioral change management, I am observing anecdotally that consultants that I have know for many years and I have recently communicated with are all concluding the same thing: It is no longer the lack of tools, technologies and techniques that prevent organizational improvement; it is the people who are the impediment. Making improvement requires social engineering that many managers were never trained to do; or worse yet, they learned from their bosses who were also unskilled at it.

    I think consulting will shift to a new era with greater emphasis on influencing human behavior.

Leave a Reply