Leaders don’t fall in love with their optimization strategies

Can we talk about optimization for a second?

Let’s say you run a web development shop with three people and you’re responsible for your staffing utilization optimization strategy. Big words for deciding who does what, when.

When you barely have any clients, all three people work on every project.

As you start getting a few more clients, you split them up so each person is working on just one project.

As the projects get bigger (or you get even more clients), you likely have people specialize. That means everyone is working on every project again (but only doing a single thing).

All of these approaches are different kinds of optimizations.

Imagine that over time your little shop grows to 100 people. And that you’re working on projects across multiple different vertical industries and maybe even in different countries.

Your optimization strategies will change again – because the vertical market specializations may require dedicated teams which develop expertise. Or you may have dedicated teams in different countries.

Again, these are just different approaches to optimization.

What’s my point?

What you have likely experienced in an organization is that time when the old optimization strategy isn’t working for your new context.

Either you have more customers, more products, more specialties, more staff, or more something. But whatever the reason, the old strategy isn’t serving you any longer. A new one is needed.

That’s when you start looking for the leader to make a new call. To be able to say what everyone is already thinking – “This old approach isn’t working. We need to make a change.”

But sometimes leaders are the last folks to see it.

They’re entrenched.
Or committed.
Or have blind spots.
Or like how the current systems work.

Don’t be one of those leaders

Everyone creates optimization strategies that help them manage the work, optimize revenue creation, minimize underutilization and more. But as organizations grow and change, those strategies need to grow and change as well. And you don’t want to be the last one fighting for the “way things used to be.”

Don’t be one of those folks.

Instead, look for the signs of an organization whose optimization strategies are failing:

  • People are feeling levels of stress that aren’t ordinary
  • People are experiencing levels of miscommunication beyond normal
  • People are queueing up waiting for help
  • People are queueing up waiting for answers

When you see these signs, ask yourself if you need to change your optimization strategy to match your new context.