Focus on value, not deliverables.

If you missed it, check out the recent HBR article, "Six Drucker Questions That Simplify a Complex Age." Here they are:

  1. What does the customer value?
  2. What is our business, and what should it be?
  3. What is the task?
  4. What are your ideas for us to try to do new things, develop new products, design new ways of reaching the market?
  5. Who in this organization depends on me for what information?
  6. What would happen if this were not done at all?

The author suggests asking the first two from the standpoint of your overall organization, asking those who work for you the second two, and asking yourself the final two.

It's more than a little presumptuous of me to use Drucker to reference one of my blog posts or my book, but these six questions force you to do precisely what I've advocated before: focus on value, not on deliverables.

All too often our personal expectations or our organizational metrics push us in the opposite direction. How many hours did the person work today? What does the latest PowerPoint presentation look like? How many calls did the customer service rep handle last hour? None of these measurements capture the value that the person creates in the eyes of the (internal or external) customer, because they're concerned with a measurable deliverable.

First, think about value.