Fight your Instinct to Test too MuchDuring a recent meeting, I heard a group of senior managers aggressively lament their firms tendency to create, manage, and interpret a wide portfolio of tests. The concern was that test after test was initiated without having the patience to see if the test worked and then with the distortion of having so many initiatives working at the same time, that it was impossible to read a clear result.
When the “stuff” hits the fan in a business and the C-suite starts getting nervous about strategy effectiveness, the tendency is too get too many moving parts in play. So here are some suggestions:
- Establish a “test” czar. One senior team member should be the gate-keeper for all tests. Too many competing agendas and priorities within the senior team will create havoc without a metering position.
- Before you start any test, clearly define in writing what you expect, how you will measure the results, who is responsible, what the sunset date is, and most importantly, how will you re-establish the norm if it doesn’t work. How do you put the original environment back and what is the cost? Too many businesses forget this and a complex matrix of confusion and expense will continue to evolve.
- Listen to your line managers. If your operations gurus get confused by the complexity, regroup fast. These are the experts that have to execute the senior team’s directives. If they can’t make sense of it, make it simpler and get them refocused.
- Have the guts to say no. All too often, when looking for answers, the business principal allows too much latitude in recommendations from his/her team. It’s time for your leadership to help prioritize and to bolster your Test Czar.
Dave Schoenbeck is a professional business and executive coach who translates complex business methods, processes, and strategies into actionable plans to dramatically improve financial results.