Not Even Wrong – A few words on speed “from signal to cash” 7

June 2014

I thought I’d make a stab at further explaining the top field in the model I’m currently Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 14.43.43working on, and perhaps better convey why I believe this to be important.

On a very general level, this is my current best attempt towards:

  • a way for finding and framing our most important questions,
  • making quality decisions, and
  • finding quality answers which moves us  towards our vision

Screen Shot 2014-06-09 at 16.01.28These then, are the links between future, strategy, decision making and action. This is important, because Sense Making and Decision Making prequels precisely everything that we do, and if we don’t work towards getting the “how” of this as right as we possibly can, we risk finding ourselves in rather serious trouble.

We will get into this more later, but for now I’d like to discuss this from a vantage point of speed. Speed is something that many folks have a bit of a love affair with. Speed tends to trump quality in the eyes of some, which can be quite the mistake if you’re not betting on speed knowingly and on purpose. Because as with anything, there’s a trade off. We often invest in speed short term, at the expense of long term success. Success here is defined as “pursuing the right outcome and reaching it”.

When we talk about speed, the first thing we might benefit from exploring is how rapidly you must be responding in your domain in order to reach your identified outcomes. Again, provided you have identified the “right” outcomes. There’s no use investing in being fast for the sake of being fast. And there’s no use moving fast if you don’t reach your outcome. This means fast with low quality sometimes looks like success, smells like success, but ultimately it might be quite the hollow victory, and quite literally a case of you drinking champagne to celebrate your impending doom.

Responding sluggishly to signals while not really paying attention to creating the best possible circumstances for quality decision making, while still hurrying the “delivery” that follows after sense making & decision making, is all too common.
The delivery is supposed to take us to our outcome, yet by setting tight deadlines – which will most certainly reduce quality and damage our possibility to reach this very outcome – the organisation works against its own best interest. This often happens when there’s steering towards activity goals, and not outcome goals. In my mind, we have arrived when we have created a difference, not when some gadget does something.

The logic presented in these instances is often a rather uninformed version of impact of delay, and for many, the clock measuring the delay starts to tick first after the decision to act has been made. I propose to you that this is a mistake.

So, what this image is trying to convey is the actual total lead time. Paraphrasing the Poppendiecks, we can refer to this as “from signal to cash”. This is the real organisation wide response time. I believe this is where we’ll find the difference that makes a difference. If you want to move faster than the competition, this is the whole picture that you need to observe and continuously improve on.

I feel I’m struggling to get my point across. The big take away is that in order to move with speed you need quality Sense Making, and to reach your vision, you need quality Decision Making.

This is why we’ll discuss various methods for Sense Making and Decision Making further down the road. We will also discuss how your decisions regarding how you deploy your capacity will impact you maneuverability. Hopefully, this will make more sense to you if take the whole “from signal to cash” flow into account.

Earlier posts on “Not Even Wrong”

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