Not What You Do, But How You Do It

by | Mar 1, 2021

You get assailed by information from all quarters on what to do in uncertain times. It’s like we’re being asked to believe that the end-game is the new strategy, structure, product or service. In reality, these are outputs and not results.

Knowing how to effect change is just as important as knowing what to change.

For example, how you choose to develop a new business model for an industry organisation has a profound influence on whether it gets supported and implemented. If the change is developed by a select group negotiating the details of a new model behind closed doors, it will almost certainly fail. 

If industry businesses are engaged early and openly, then the prospects for success increase exponentially.

We tend to overinvest upfront in determining what and later underinvest in how. There is a deep belief and mindset that innovation is a sequential process, yet in reality what and how pretty much run in parallel, with one shaping the other.

You see great research conducted in a manner that is disconnected from users followed by debates about how to ‘extend’ the findings to businesses. Or the brilliant new website with no traffic and the training program with no students.

The global vaccine companies have shown us the astonishing power of placing intense and sustained focus on ‘how’, by producing effective vaccines for a novel virus in record time. 

In contrast, when governments had ‘what’ they wanted (the vaccine), how different governments performed in distributing it to the public has proven disorganised and slow.

If getting results is your endgame, then working on what will change and how in parallel will set you apart from the herd.

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