Don't Copy Paste your business

As I was wrapping up a CEO workshop on Value last year, I noticed one of the attendees sitting distraught in her chair. I went over and asked if there was anything wrong.

She looked up from her notes—"I just copy pasted my business".

My workshop had focused on importance of establishing every possible opportunity for value at the outset of any change initiative. I'm not a big fan of project failure stats—they tend to be self serving—but there's one that I've seen often enough to quote:

50% of projects only deliver 50% of the expected value.

My response is to set expectations even higher—identify more value. I run a three hour workshop that typically uncovers many new forms of value that can deliver additional return on the investment.

If you identify all forms of value before you even decide to undertake the initiative, you will have the best foundation for the potential, the ROI, the requirements, the approach, and for benefits realization after go live.

But if you select the replacement system that most resembles "the way we do business around here" and tell the implementor that you must conduct your business the way you always have, your throwing away a once-a-decade opportunity to re-invent your business, introduce new practices from the outside world, and benefit from the expertise of others.

You'd be copy pasting your old business.

I sat down next to my guest as she confessed that her company had done just that in the process of completing a major systems upgrade.

The happy ending is that we partnered to find a way to retro-fit value to her business. But that's a story for another post.

Your Search for Value

Think back to an initiative that you've undertaken in the last couple of years. The bigger the better, but this works on any scale. Now answer the following

  1. What was your rationale for deciding to proceed?
  2. After the initiative was completed, did anyone note opportunities missed as the project was being conducted?
  3. Have you had reason to redo any of the work in order to meet other goals? Could the rework have been avoided with the help of a Value Workshop at the outset?

Office hours this week are a little later on Friday—11-2pm Eastern. I'll be reachable on (647) 400 2514 to discuss ways you can avoid the copy paste syndrome. As ever, if I don't pick up, leave a message and I’ll call you back promptly.

... and if you missed these related articles, go back and take another look:

Revealing Value, one step at a time Digging for Gold Why Platforms Matter When Better Beats Best