If your jobs look good until 80%-90%, and then reality hits hard…READ THIS.

Do your projects look financially fit until they reach 80%-90% complete, then the wheels fall off the cart?
When Reality Hits

If your jobs look good until 80%-90%, and then reality hits hard…READ THIS.

By: Chad Pearson

Do your projects look financially fit until they reach 80%-90% complete, then the wheels fall off the cart?

Did you invest into clever excel sheets, custom reports, consultants and technology that connects the field and office, yet still have poor job visibility?

If so, this article is for you.

It may help to look beyond technology and process, to the human element, and consider a drastic shift in culture as a solution to unreliable data.

People touching data is likely the cause of the distortion.

There are 1000’s of ways humans distort data but we’re going to focus on only two that make it almost impossible to get accurate data, regardless of how good your technology is.

The two human trends are Price’s Law and our increasing addiction to distraction.

Problem #1 is Price’s law, which says that 50% of the work is done by the square root of the total number of people who participate in any project. It’s an unfortunate reality that is accurate more often than not in companies.

For example, if your company has 25 people involved in admin tasks, approximately 5 people do 50% of the work. If your company has 100 people, only about 10 people do 50% of the work.

So as companies grow, the number of people who underperform grows exponentially. This lack of performance and care destroys the integrity of data collection.

Problem #2 is our growing addiction to distractions. Productivity expert, Chris Bailey, has shown beyond doubt that the barrage of distraction through our connected devices overstimulates the brain so much that attention spans can shorten to as little as 40 seconds. In short, more people are becoming addicts of distraction and less CAPABLE of being productive (even if they sincerely care about company’s mission).

This results in a growing risk of people lacking the attention to detail needed for quality data collection.

If both of these trends exist at in your organization, they are likely at the center of your unreliable data.

The solution

Unfortunately, it appears that data will be distorted as long as humans handle data. The only true solution will likely be when technology takes full controls over data collection.

As we all wait for technology to evolve, we recommend a shift in culture.

The following are 3 steps for building a culture of truth and transparency that fosters the highest levels of productivity and quality in data capture.

That may sound simple, but remember, truth hurts!  If you want a culture of truth, prepare for pain and sacrifice.

Let’s begin…

  1. Step up or step aside…you decide: 

Step up:

If you decide to step up as a leader, get ready to invest more time than anyone else and lead by example. You’ll need to start saying no to things in your life that do not align with the mission so you can stay focused on changing your culture, and then protecting it after its evolution.

Step aside:

If you’re at a stage in life where you want to slow down and are not willing to sacrifice more than you already have, you should step aside and pass the torch to your replacement. Consider part time roles such as a board member or advisory as your wisdom and guidance will be invaluable.

Leading cultural change is more than a full-time position, it is an all-the-time’ position so you should decide if you want to step up to the challenge, or step aside and help mentor an emerging leader become the change the company needs.

  1. Choose the core, and no more:

If you see signs that your company is infected with price’s law, identify the core group of people who do approximately 50% of the work, and then evaluate which people in that group have the integrity needed to build a culture of truth & transparency.

Note: Some people may have great work ethic and/or talent, but terrible integrity. Those people should not be included in the core group.

After identifying your core group of talent who possess the required integrity, bring the group together and define the new culture and develop a strategic plan to create it.

NOTE: You may need to hire a professional in this area to complete this task effectively. 

  1. Courage to slow down, so you can speed up:

Once you have a plan in place, it’s time to pony up and execute. You’ll need to make decisions that most people do not have the courage to make.

Here are some examples:

  • Adhering to unforgiving policies around addictions with technology and distractions (addictions that you might even have yourself and will have difficulty overcoming).

See Chris Bailey’s book on productivity for ideas on great tactics anyone can use to improve in this area.

  • Begin coaching people outside the core group and set strict deadlines for them to change patterns of behavior that detract from the cultural shift…

NOTE: The tough part will be slowing down, so you can speed up by firing those who do not change their patterns of behavior, regardless of how talented they are, how much they produce or how bad you need them.

Consider the fact that every day a leader allows someone, whose values are not aligned with the core group, to remain on the team is a day that the core group may lose respect for leadership. The NUMBER ONE job of leaders is to serve the team by providing everything they need to succeed while protecting the team from harmful behaviors.

Firing culturally unfit talent may hurt in the short term but replacing those who can’t adapt to the desired culture is the catalyst to building a team where the core performers are the majority, rather than the minority square root of the number of people in the group.

Consider building a culture of truth and transparency through courageous and ever-present leadership. It may be the best way to overcome price’s law and addiction to distractions so you can finally have real time data without distortion and the productivity you have always hoped for.