I should have followed up and asked Josh Gibson how his muscles felt after he so willingly sat on the dysfunctional chair. Do you remember the illustration? Josh was able to remain upright, even if some of the legs were not performing, but this was done at a cost. If Josh had to stay in that position for along amount of time, his own legs would have cramped up and he collapsed.As I was re-reading one of my favorite books, Scrum by Jeff Sutherland, I was reminded of this. The author describes it this way – any organization which relies on heroics will eventually fail. That is what Josh was demonstrating up there. When several of the chair’s legs failed to do their job, Josh could keep himself upright. But only because of heroics. He could do it for some time, but eventually, his legs would have given out.
This illustration perfectly emphasizes what we need to do as a company. Each of our ‘legs’ (teams) struggle in one way or another, and it requires extra effort from others to keep us upright. We cannot look at those as opportunities as simply needing a hero but instead an opportunity to solve the root problem. While our production team must routinely pull rabbits from hats – that is not a strategy. Our sales team cannot overcome all woes by simply forcing more sales into the market. Our operations team cannot create excellence in information when the target constantly moves.
The call to action is this – if you see a wobbly leg that isn’t you, embrace the opportunity to be a hero. If you are a wobbly leg, quickly act to root out the cause of the problem and solve it so that it doesn’t reoccur. You will be hearing much more of this approach to our business in the weeks and months ahead…solve the root cause and prevent recurrence.
We will celebrate our heroes and express our deepest ‘thanks’ for what they do and, while we do, let’s continue to build an immensely successful organization that does not require everyday heroics.