France dominated the European Cup Final on almost every dimension. They had more time of possession, completed more passes, took more shots and had more shots on goal. On the other hand, Portugal lost its star player to an injury early in the match and had to play defense for the rest of the time, rarely even getting the ball out of its own half. In the end, the only statistic Portugal had an advantage on was goals scored 1 to 0.
As organizations mature, they put in place systems and processes to enable their people to work more effectively and efficiently together. They develop internal organization charts, workflow processes, decision-making protocols, strategies, plans, budgets, management tools and the like. And they put in place ways of measuring their improvements on all these dimensions. These are good things to do — but only if they lead to more goals scored.
The trap is in focusing on and measuring the wrong things. France certainly had its chances. If any two of its shots had been a couple of inches to the right or lower, it would have won. But there is an argument to be made that the French team members spent too much time passing the ball back and forth to each other and not enough time pressing forward to score.
Don’t do that.
Do measure things. But focus on the one or two measures that matter most to the mission.
Do enable your people to work more effectively and efficiently together. But make sure they do that in order to realize a meaningful a rewarding shared purpose.
When it comes to the five steps of onboarding, the trade offs are stark.
Align. You should have recruiting briefs and onboarding plans in place before you start recruiting anyone for any position. The goal here is getting key stakeholders aligned around the briefs and plans.
Acquire. You should cast your net wide and identify a range of candidates. You should interview and assess those candidates appropriately. The goal here is getting the right candidates to accept the right offers in the right way at the right times.
Accommodate. You should prepare new hire paperwork as early in the process as you can. You should make sure your new employees understand your polices and procedures, guidelines and benefits. But the real goal here is to make sure your new hires have the information and tools they need to be able to do work on day one.
Assimilate. You should leverage multiple ways to help your new hires converge into the organization. This requires much more than just giving them a list of people to meet. You need to provide active introductions setting the meetings up for success. The goal is to enable them to work with others.
Accelerate. Don’t quit too early. New hires need more help for a far longer period of time than either they or you ever think. Give them the support and resources they need. The goal is to help them deliver better results faster.
Other Work Streams
Onboarding is just one example. The total quality tool SIPOC is useful across other work streams. SIPOC is an acronym for Supplier – Input – Process – Output – Customer.
The premise is that all work is a process. All processes have inputs that come from suppliers and outputs that go to customers. In looking at and improving processes, you must look at the whole eco-system, making sure the processes’ suppliers are providing inputs that are fit for purpose and the processes’ outputs are fit for its customers’ purposes.
The lesson is the same – focus on the goal. In most cases, the goals are defined by the customers or consumers, not the people working the processes themselves. Figure out what your customers want and need and the one or two measures of success in their eyes. It’s not enough to dominate on things that lead up to goals unless you can score the goals.