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Some companies are like 8 year-old boys

Does your company loose its focus?

Does your company loose its focus?

I was teaching my 8 year-old son how to make a grilled-cheese sandwich on the week-end and realized that some companies do act like little children.

At home, we have a rule that the twins are not allowed to use the stove unless there is a parent around to supervise them. Our objective is to allow them to learn and experiment while we control some of the risks. So in line with our rule, my son asked if I could teach him to make a grilled-cheese sandwich.

After I explained the steps, he took out the ingredients – bread, butter, and Swiss cheese. He turned on the stove and warmed-up his pan. He then buttered the slices of bread and put them on the warm pan.

He turned to me and said “I’ll be right back. I want to bring in the house my rubber dinosaurs before the rain starts“. He dashed through the kitchen and out the patio door while I stood next to the stove. Two minutes passed and my son wasn’t back. I could turn over the bread so it wouldn’t burn but I realized this could be an opportunity for him to learn something.

I walked to the patio door to see why he wasn’t back in the house… The rubber dinosaurs were still on the patio table and my son was trying to pick up a caterpillar. Indeed, this was an opportunity to learn. I opened the door and told him “your bread is burning“…

Some companies act exactly the same way. They launch an important project and then get distracted by a cute project along the way. The distractions do not always need to be shinny objects for people to loose focus. Eventually, someone needs to remind them that the original project is about to go bad or worst, the company is about to loose some big business.

Sometimes, only the bread burns but in other circumstances the entire house can catch fire…

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5 Comments Post a comment
  1. Maureen #

    Olivier is going to like this one!

    July 14, 2009
    • I’m sure you can relate to this story on both levels :)

      Thanks for taking the time to post a comment.

      July 15, 2009
  2. Enrique Lopez de Lara #

    Very good analogy. Only when you focus your attention on something you can expect to achieve the best results. The challenge in our busy lives is to be disciplined enough to keep our attention on what is important and don’t get distracted easily with other less important things.

    July 15, 2009
    • Indeed, it is easy to get distracted even for grown-ups. Remaining focus does allow people to achieve greater results.

      Thanks for taking the time to post a comment.

      July 15, 2009

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  1. Links for July 19 2009 | Eric D. Brown - Technology, Strategy, People & Projects

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