21 November 2008

Managing dynamics

There are basically two kinds of car races that make any sense, drag racing and track racing. Drag racing is obviously going full out for a very short period of time. Track racing is about endurance. Certainly overall speed is important, but managing the variance – knowing when to go fast and when to conserve is crucial. This is basically the construct behind the ‘tortoise and the hair’ story we have all heard as a child.

If you have ever played in a music group with others, you understand the importance of dynamics. If the trumpet players play full out for the entire song, it is likely that we will never enjoy the soft sweet tones of the flutes and piccolo’s.

These same principals are important with managing people, works loads and even users and customers. Pushing your staff full out or for constant long hours does not work. The ramifications of applying short-term tactics over the long haul are well documented, and frankly obvious. Burn out and attrition are certainly the most common of inevitable outcomes.

For customers it is slightly different… well actually not so much. They just leave or ignore you. If everything you take to them is an, ‘unbelievable incredible deal of a lifetime’, your message will fade (ok, this time think ‘the boy who cried wolf’). If every offer is accompanied by flashing neon and police emergency lights… then the intensity of those are soon rendered ineffective.

The basic principle of managing dynamics seems so obvious. It causes me pause when I see it ignored.