This is the way we do things here, we do things here, we do things here…
It seems that there is a method to the madness, after all. Following a template ostensibly forged by older and much wiser heads since antiquity guarantees success, does it not? Of course it does! Our modus operandi, the method we must zealously adhere to with all the trenchant zeal of that much-maligned religious sect who obtained their label from deriding onlookers – the Methodists. Methods are easy to describe and demonstrate. That makes methods easy to follow. It makes the leader’s job simple. Tell ’em, show ’em, supervise ’em, and let ’em. When things go wrong, as they sometimes will, you can be all nice and smiley still. You just have to tell them to go and look, they’ll find the answer within the Book. Yes, our modus operandi. We do it our way.
We all know that reliance on one, two, or even a few methods for success, in whatever area of business, would seem to work well for a while and then those methods would need refreshing, in what we know as “business process re-engineering.” This is like thinking in terms of “supply lines.” What we really need is thinking in terms of “supply corridors” or “supply avenues.” The term “supply” can be substituted by “distribution” and other terms, of course. All of us need to expand our thinking, not just our eating. Trouble is, thinking is very hard work. You need to know the current situation, current processes and procedures, and then visualize how they can be made more robust, sustainable and expandable. Few people take the time and effort to do that. Fewer still embark on active experimentation, shopping the competition, assessing customer needs and wants, and reworking and refining concepts resulting in viable solutions. This is why many in leadership positions in the past, and probably in the now, have taken to maintaining harems in one way or another. After all, orgasm is far easier to achieve than organization. Simply mandate a method to be applied to the problems at hand, and then get back to other distractions.
One more contributor to people having one-track minds is the misapplication of this “Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic” or VAK framework about how we tend to receive information. While the framework is broadly true, many have applied it to the extreme, where they insist on certain ways of doing things just because they happen to have higher “AK” scores rather than “V”. People forget that all of us have VAK preferences to different degrees at different times and also when operating in different situations. Again, we need to enlarge our thinking. A lot more than we currently are.
Expand and Elevate
We do need to expand and elevate our thinking. This is for all of us regardless of whether we are responsible for strategy formulation, implementation and, if you still have it, “policies.” Whether we work on the shop floor or we are busy serving customers, none of us can afford to simply go by the modus operandi. There is a method to the madness. We need to master the complex intricacies of the madness, though, if we are to formulate and adopt methods that serve us well for that time and situation. Otherwise our modus operandi will become a bogus operandi.