I’ve been giving a lot of thought to focus. What’s mine for The Smart Work Company? What am I trying to do?
Am I about working with people and organisations to help them to explore changing customer expectations, and how to adapt to that – who does what, with whom, and why?
Or is it work-based learning, building on what I know about process innovation approaches to how work is organised, for example lean and quality?
Process innovation approaches to designing work and performance (there are many variations) are based on a philosophy of innovation as everyone’s business and real-time problem solving sewn into everything a business does.
Or is it performance environments? What do different organisations do to influence the conditions for agile, customer-focused performance? This is about performance systems (physical and organisational – structure, governance, cultures, job design, information etc), and cross-functional cooperation.
It’s too much.
Plus clients are giving me big clues as to where my focus needs to be. It needs to be on people and organisations becoming fit for the future.
Scanning Dan Pink’s To Sell is Human, I was pleased to find a chapter that I find really useful. It is about practicing six types of ‘sales pitch’. One of these is the one-word pitch.
It struck a chord because I recently, and eventually, decided on ‘future-capable’ as my focus.
Becoming future-capable applies to people, whose skills and capabilities need to acquire currency (ability to perform) as the business environment changes. For organisations, it’s their ability to adapt business models and to provide people with what they need.
So much depends on context. That’s why I’ve developed The Smart Work Value Toolkit (simple questions, checklists, scorecards, and tools to facilitate practical experiments) to let people explore what they think might be happening in their own work:
Diagnose – What’s happening? What can you do?
Do Something – Build personal and organisational capabilities.
Develop – What’s next?
The tools can be used to help people think about their own skills and capabilities. They can also be used to explore what needs to adapt (be dropped or experimented with) as the business environment changes. I’ll write more about how I’m trying to pilot them in future posts.
I dislike the idea of a ‘sales pitch’. It seems so pushy. I do, however, like the sound of the ‘Pixar Pitch’, based on Emma Coates’ (ex Pixar) 22 story rules. It doesn’t sound like a pitch at all, more a way of framing focus, and why it matters, as a story. The pitch is:
- Once upon a time ….
- Every day …
- One day …
- Because of that …
- Because of that …
- Until finally …..
I’m still thinking about how to frame ‘future-capable’ as a Pixar Pitch. Becoming Future-capable. Finding Nemo. See the resemblance? Will let you know when I’ve filled in the dots 🙂