Tom Peters would often share in his lectures about “a blinding flash of the obvious,” namely an insight or perspective that would make your head spin. Having worked with numerous groups and people over the course of the summer, I think we all need some more blinding flashes of the obvious. Here are a few for your review.
First, let’s remember Collins’ brilliant insight that “Good is the enemy of great.” There are times when this should be handed out at the start of every meeting for the next 30 days so people will quit settling for “good” and instead have the discipline, fortitude, courage and clarity to seek great over good. Too many times this summer, I witnessed good and even OK as acceptable standards and behaviors in many companies. It is a far cry from greatness when we let mediocrity be acceptable.
Second, we need to continue working on a key idea from James Belasco, and Ralph C. Stayer’s book called Flight of the Buffalo: Soaring To Excellence, Learning to Let Employees Lead (Time Warner, 1994). As they write, “Transfer ownership for work to those who execute the work.” Brilliantly simplistic and yet so many people haven’t a clue about how to do this. Most forget that when we create “an environment for ownership where each person wants to be responsible for his/her own performance” then we are creating the opportunity to transfer ownership to those who do it on a daily basis. It is the ownership environment that holds the key to be prepared for the future.
Finally, back to Collins in his book, Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap. . . and Others Don't. HarperBusiness, 2001, where he writes “all good-to-great companies began the process of finding a path to greatness by confronting the brutal facts of their current reality... When you start with an honest and diligent effort to determine the truth of your situation, the right decisions often become self-evident. It is impossible to make good decisions without infusing the entire process with an honest confrontation of the brutal facts.” Brutal facts in combination with some good old fashioned faith and hope make a major difference.
Every day there are moments when a blinding flash of the obvious could happen. Open your eyes to the possibilities and keep educating those around you to do likewise. Remember: common sense is not always that common.