[01:13.51]In public discussion of business, we take certain values for granted.
[01:18.79]Today, I am going to talk about four of them: collaboration, hard work, creativity and excellence.
[01:28.09] Most People would say they are all good things.
[01:31.85]I'm going to suggest that's an over-simple view.
[01:35.56]The trouble with these values is that they are theoretical concepts, removed from the reality of day-to-day business.
[01:43.81]Pursue values by all means, but be prepared for what may happen as a result.
[01:49.87]They can actually cause damage, which is not at all the intention.
[01:55.09]Business leaders generally try to do the right thing.
[01:58.91]But all too often the right thing backfires if those leaders adopt values without understanding and managing the side effects that arise.
[02:08.73]The values can easily get in the way of what is actually intended.
[02:13.48]Ok. So the first value I am going to discuss is collaboration, Er, let me give you an example.
[02:21.64] On a management training course I once attended, we were put into groups and had to construct a bridge across a stream, using building blocks that we were given.
[02:33.29]The rule was that everyone in the team had to move at least one building block during the construction.
[02:40.55]This was intended to encourage teamwork.
[02:43.84]But it was really a job best done by one person.
[02:47.81] The other teams tried to collaborate on building the structure, and descended into confusion, with everyone getting in each other's way.
[02:56.61] Our team leader solved the challenge brilliantly.
[02:59.96] She simply asked everyone in the team to move a piece a few centimeters, to comply with the rule, and then let the person in the team with an aptitude for puzzles like this build it alone.
[03:12.23] We finished before any other team.
[03:15.42] My point is that the task wasn't really suited to teamworking, so why make it one?
[03:23.21]Teamwork can also lead to inconsistency - a common cause of poor sales.
[03:30.10]In the case of a smartphone that a certain company launched, one director wanted to target the business market, and another demanded it was aimed to consumers.
[03:41.75] The company wanted both directors to be involved, so gave the product a consumer-friendly name, but marketed it to companies.
[03:51.78] The result was that it met the needs of neither group.
[03:55.96] It would have better to let one director or the other have this way, not both.
[04:06.10]Now industriousness, or hard work.
[04:11.64]It's easy to mock people who say they work hard: after all, a hamster running around in a wheel is working hard and getting nowhere.
[04:21.93] Of course hard work is valuable, but only when properly targeted.
[04:26.89] Otherwise it wastes the resources that companies value most - time and energy.
[04:32.54] And that's bad for the organization.
[04:35.88]There's a management model that groups people according to four criteria: clever, hard-working, stupid and lazy.
[04:45.81] Here 'lazy' means having a rational determination not to carry out unnecessary tasks.
[04:52.81] It doesn't mean trying to avoid work altogether.
[04:56.15] Most people display two of these characteristics, and the most valuable people are those who are both clever and lazy: they possess intellectual clarity, and they don't rush into making decisions.
[05:11.30] They come up with solutions to save the time and energy spent by the stupid and hard-working group.
[05:18.25] Instead of throwing more man-hours at a problem, the clever and lazy group looks for a more effective solution.
[05:26.40]Next we come to creativity.
[05:29.85] This often works well - creating an attention-grapping TV commercial, for example, might lead to increased sales.
[05:39.04] But it isn't always a good thing.
[05:42.39] Some advertising campaigns are remembered for their creativity, without having any effect on sales.
[05:49.55] This happened a few years ago with the launch of a chocolate bar; subsequent research showed that plenty of consumers remembered the advert, but had no idea what was being advertised.
[06:01.46] The troubles is that the creator derives pleasure from coming up with the idea, and wrongly assumes the audience for the campaign will share that feeling.
[06:12.59]A company that brings out thousands of new products may seem more creative than a company that only has a few, but it may be too creative, and make smaller profits.
[06:25.25] Creativity needs to be targeted to solve a problem that the company has identified.
[06:31.84] Just coming up with more and more novel products isn’t necessarily a good thing.
[06:37.84]And finally, excellence.
[06:41.71] We all know companies that claim they 'strive for excellence', but it takes a long time to achieve excellence.
[06:49.60] In business, being first with a product is more profitable than having the best product.
[06:56.55] A major study of company performance compared pioneers - that is, companies bringing out the first version of a particular product - with followers, the companies that copied and improved on that product.
[07:11.75] The study found that the pioneers commanded an average market share of 29 percent, while the followers achieved less than half that, only 13 percent - even though their product might have been better.
[07:27.90]Insisting on excellence in everything we do is time-consuming, wastes energy and leads to losing out on opportunities.
[07:38.08] Sometimes, second-rate work is more worthwhile than excellence.
[07:43.20]"Make sure it's excellent" sounds like a good approach to business, but the "just get-started" approach is likely to be more successful.
Complete the notes below.
Write NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS for each answer.
Four business values
Many business values can result in .
Senior managers need to understand and deal with the potential that may result.
During a training course, the speaker was in a team that had to build a .
Other teams experienced from trying to collaborate.
The speaker's team won because they reduced collaboration.
Sales of a were poor because of collaboration.
Hard work may be a bad use of various company .
The word 'lazy' in this context refers to people who avoid doing tasks that are .
An advertising campaign for a was memorable but failed to boost sales.
Creativity should be used as a response to a particular .
According to one study, on average, pioneers had a that was far higher than that of followers.
Companies that always aim at excellence may miss opportunities.