In order to commercialize an idea, Duterme had this advice, which I quote:
* Collaboration - get the right people on your team.
* Fulfilling user needs should be the focus - 70-80% of ideas that fail do so because of lack of user focus. Google places a lot of emphasis on this, said Tom.
* Iterate often ("Big will not beat small anymore. It will be fast beating slow"; quote from Rupert Murdoch).
This advice got me thinking about how do you manage collaboration to iterate often. The CEO who has to do everything their way, the quest for "perfection" and constant minor changes are all in conflict with collaborative iteration. Why hire the best people and then micromanage or nitpick or ask for multiple do overs. The time constantly reviewing the best thinking of a smart employee is time lost that could be used more productively. If a decision will not immediately severely impair the company (bring on imminent bankruptcy) why beat it to death. The only factor necessary to consider in most decisions is whether it advances or is consistent with the strategy. Otherwise, remember this management principle which is little publicized: there is usually more than one right way to do things .
Follow this principle and your company will generate product iterations much more quickly. If you do not trust your employees enough to follow this principle, you have a recruiting problem or you (the CEO/manager) are the problem. The two problems are probably interconnected. People that do not trust typically are lousy recruiters who hire mousy people without initiative who do not challenge them.
A few signals that your corporate culture is not conducive to collaborative iteration:
- You spend three months developing a product brochure because it's not "right"
- Nobody can make the decision on when the next product version is ready or when it is finished
- Nobody has the time to recruit the new sales people, programmers, ....
- The mood in the office improves noticeably when the CEO goes out of town
Note: Duterme believes that 70-80 percent of ideas/businesses fail because there is insufficient focus on the customer. I think the percentage is correct. As I have said countless times on this blog, focus on the customer and their needs and don't waste time over thinking decisions, nitpicking the staff and re-doing things that are not key to the strategy.