Friday, 9 March 2012

Scale, Souffle and Smart people

Got talking to some smart people this week (Hi ‘B’ and ‘V’ by the way)

So there are smart people and clever people.

Clever people get the simple stuff and over complicate it. It’s like describing a shoelace as a forward-motion-restraining-tension-wire.

Clever people work out the math to inflation models explaining the universe and they often talk at a 1000 miles per hour and make no sense.

I met smart people. Smart people explore complicated stuff and work out how to simplify it and make it accessible to others who don’t understand. I love smart people and I love smart thinking.

These smart people work in a business. A big business, the sort who have 290k people in it worldwide.

That’s an issue when it comes to scaling smart thinking as it’s not just about 4 points on a powerpoint chart copied to everyone.

The issue of scaling an idea is a nutty and knotty one but if you get it right, I think one of the most rewarding. You can't make laminates for everyone; they'll always be an exception to the rule. You’ll always have a customer who has a request that differs from the norms and the laminates. You’ll happen upon a situation where process won’t help. If you think about it, this is good as it means your business is moving and evolving. I think if you have too much process, it prevents that happening, so although everyone can please customers or have policies in place for exceptions; things are just going to waste. Consider the first aid boxes - we all need them but with luck, they should never be used so you're really wasting money each year on plasters and bandages going out of date.

To scale an idea, you gotta think of yeast, you only need a little bit to start it off and then it grows and self multiplies. It's an action, a bi-product of conditions.

If we all agree not to run up the stair cases, we wont trip so much and we won’t need to spend money on the first aid boxes.

I often think that to scale an idea you have to look at the small stuff and see it contains all the instruction you need.

Consider how easy it would be for me to teach 2 people in a business of 290k how to prepare the perfect soufflé AND at the same time tell them how to teach 2 other people how to prepare the perfect soufflé. If they pass on their learning USING their learning, they embed their own knowledge and understanding, upskill others and create the conditions to repeat the process WITHOUT my help once more. It’s a self teaching, self sustaining model.

Not a laminate in sight.
Smart thinking.
Not clever thinking.


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