According to some sources: There are more than 30 million PowerPoint presentations made each day. We spend approximately 15 million person hours per day viewing presentations. This equates to a staggering $252 million a day in terms of productivity.
For a long time we have been talking about disruptive trends like AI, AR/VR, Blockchain, IoT etc. And that was often where it stopped. Slide decks were prepared, board meetings were held and motivational speeches were given but at the end of the day everyone returned to their “day job” knowing that there is a “strategic plan”. In some cases, the strategic plan was complemented with even more power points outlining a roadmap, an action plan incl. a broad value promise. Where did all this lead?
In today’s world, it is essential to focus on rapid execution rather than long, thorough planning cycles. An idea, an innovation is worth nothing unless it is executed. To quote Wayne Gretzky: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” At the same time, many core beliefs held by companies prohibit employees from rapidly experimenting in new areas to separate promising ideas from once that fail on the first mile.
Why are we not moving?
In multiple meetings over the past months I have heard people talk about reasons why it is not possible to experiment. The reasons ranged from regulatory, to internal policies and commonly shared beliefs within an organization. The result was always the same, instead of moving ahead with promising ideas to test key hypothesis and potential they were often shelved. Questioning some of these reasons and challenging the people bringing them forward very often let to the conclusion that there are possibilities to experiment and test new ideas, technologies and concepts even in today’s set frame.
Example – crowdsourcing:
- HR Directors believe crowdsourcing will be an important trend that they will need to address
- The same HR Director believe they cannot experiment due to current regulation and policies
- A more thorough review and exploration of regulation and practices / models already in use today, these HR Directors came to the conclusion that experimentation is possible and necessary
Example – AI:
- In a discussion with a client, he reassured me that his organization is not mature enough for Robotics and AI
- We looked at different areas where they are today utilizing a lot of manual work in reviewing and creating reports as well as other information to arrive at pre-defined conclusions
- At the end of our meeting we concluded that being behind the maturity curve today could give them a real opportunity to leap-frog some of the development steps done in other industries
Less PowerPoint – More Action!
Shifting from talking to doing requires a change in the company culture and leadership attitude. Instead of “playing it safe” and adding to the 30 million PowerPoint presentations made each day, management must encourage and reward calculated risk taking and experimentation. While intrapreneurship programs often fail due to lack of focus, funding and time, there needs to be a mechanism that enables people across departments and units to experiment within and beyond their area of responsibility, as outlined in one of our earlier articles: Intrapreneurship – Driving growth, innovation and change. Taking only a fraction of the 15 million person-hours or the related $252 million per day used for making presentations could help solve the experimentation and execution gap we often see today. It’s critical to establish a doer attitude where risk and rewards are tied to execution and results rather than creating power points and giving shine presentations.
At Taival we believe that success comes from executing great ideas that deliver tangible outcomes. It’s time to roll up our sleeves and to get things done!