Sweat the Small Stuff Says Rory Sutherland in a TED Talk – This is What Bovo-Tighe Does for You
In this TED talk from 2010, Rory Sutherland makes excellent points about why large corporations fail to “sweat the small stuff.” That is, they seem unable to make all the day-to-day tactical improvements that always have the biggest positive impact on productivity and profitability.
Rory boils it down to this: The Small Stuff isn’t sexy enough. You can’t build careers on it. It’s too obvious.
On the other hand, there is strong evidence that giving the smaller, incremental improvements the attention they deserve actually raises innovation across the board:
- Operational employees see incremental but immediate improvement, and get recharged.
- Even better, those very employees may have been the source of all the “small stuff” ideas, and may get more engaged and invested as their ideas are given credence and they increase their sense of ownership.
This is a wake-up call to senior executives who make too many bets on hitting “home runs” and not enough investments in raising their everyday batting average.
If American baseball metaphors aren’t your thing, try this analogy: A famous symphony sounds great to the ear as the orchestra plays, but each part was painstakingly crafted by the composer and melded together to make the composition. And each performer practiced his or her part note by note, measure by measure to get it right, and when in rehearsal, made the needed adjustments to blend it in with the other instruments.
These constant adjustments made on the shop floor, in customer service or on a production line are the life blood of productivity improvements, because the whole is so much greater than each individual improvement.
Without further ado, here is the 12-minute TED talk:
We share this video in part because when people ask us at Bovo-Tighe what we do, we explain how we “fix,” “reset” or “rejuvenate” teams that are newly formed, or need a jump start to recapture their previously high level of performance. And we do it at a price that fits well within most development budgets (which Mr. Sutherland points out isn’t very sexy or strategic).
This puts us firmly in the lower right quadrant in Mr. Sutherlands proposed innovation matrix: We fix the small stuff (conflicts, interpersonal skill gaps and the like) that is keeping your team from performing at a high level. And we get it done quickly and affordably.
This is not a grand strategic initiative. It is the blocking and tackling of team building (another sports metaphor!).
For 2015, you cannot make a better investment than working with Bovo-Tighe to eliminate dysfunction in your key leadership teams and returning them to the peak efficiency they need to maximize their contribution to your success.