We all know the story of Thomas Edison and how he made 1000 trials before he got it right and made the light bulb. Once a journalist asked him “what do you have to say about the 999 times you failed? Edison answered, “I learnt 999 ways Not to make a lightbulb.”
We know that Edison was a very shrewd businessman too.
What does this example mean to you?
For me, it shows the importance of a testing mindset. It shows the need to accept failures as a learning ground.
What happens if we don’t? A board room turns into a contest of blames rather than a hotbed of ideas.
We often hear this. Then, why is it that, when it comes to our business we tend to get scattered?
Have you walked out of a meeting where a ton of initiatives have been thrown, all exciting, project maps worked out and you are all fired up? 6 months later, you find you are nowhere and all the initiatives are only taking time and not making any money?
I have been in a major initiative where there were 42 initiatives running at the same time. Yes 42! I still remember the painful meeting reviews where nothing was progressing and everyone’s nerves were frayed. Only pet projects were moving and the impact of those on business was still debatable.
I was high strung, as so much time was invested and very little was achieved.
Against this, I remember we were in the midst of transition of a Free to Air Television to a subscription channel. It was a mammoth project involving satellites, people on the ground, advertisers, the works. But, since the objective was only one, all the moving parts were clearly aligned to one objective. And if they were not, they were ruthlessly weeded out.
The Lesson is very clear: Do one thing but do it very well.
Having one initiative at a time, makes sure that all the parts in the organization are focused on delivering it. Remember for a lot of people this itself is extra work. For the production or service delivery guy or sales guy on the ground, this is one more item he needs to finish every day. All this within the same time available and with no respite on the daily deliverables.
Having one project makes sure that to each and every person, you are delivering only one message. This helps every one know what is most important to you and to the business.
It brings in speed and ruthless efficiency. It acts as a building block to the organization on which future success is built.