You are probably familiar with Whac-a-mole, an arcade game that requires you to use a mallet to beat down the mole heads that pop up in a irregular pattern. It is a great game for soothing the savage beast inside!
In today’s world where companies are running and gunning trying to find a path to stability and success, I observe a lot of whac-a-mole management. It is defined as one off problem solving. Upgrade quality, improve marketing, change customer service policies–all great things to do don’t you think?
The challenge comes when executives don’t think about how changing one aspect of the business will effect the rest of it. In a high performance company, there is one strategy and all operations are aligned to achieve it. How can you change one vital function or process and not expect to impact the rest?
Most businesses DO need to be re-thinking their business models. Many ARE outdated. But solving for one aspect of it without regard to its impact on the rest often is responsible for creating more problems. It’s a little like trying to align your car tires one wheel at a time. Would you do that? Of course not. So why manage your business that way? Business require integrated thinking from their leadership. Yes, you do need a great customer service policy, but you need to change operations to support it, train personnel to deliver it, integrate it into billing practices, etc. To do that you need to realign resources, think through the things the second tier of change (if I ask operations to do this, what else does that change?), and figure out ways to measure it to ensure you are getting the desired result for the planned investment.
If you are constantly fighting fires instead of implementing strategic change, or if you always put off developing a plan until you get the latest project done, chances are you are experiencing whac-a-mole mentality in your organization. Time to think holistically and get back to leading, not reacting.