You looked, but did you see? Really?

Comparing a 1950 pit stop to a 2013 stop is fun, but take a closer look. You can see the Goal / Resource / Result equation at work. This is where many managers mess up. The mistake made all too often by leaders is wanting the better result with little or no resource improvement. Notice I didn’t say increase which is only one option. Worse though is when the leader sees more results in the data than is actually there based on one measurement; in this pit stop case, time. They forget the detail. All they want is the faster result, or the greater profit.

Let’s take this examination one step at a time.

Look again if you like.

First – Technology. In the video it is easy to see the advancement in technology. Air wrenches instead of a hammer and hub locks that self-thread, no gas cap to turn and fuel that has a controlled quantity, faster jacks front and rear plus several other improvements made a big difference. Now use your imagination for a moment and give all those advances to the 1950’s pit crew. How much faster would the pit stop have been? Some, but still not as fast, right?

Second – Training. In the video all team members were well trained, but if you gave the new technology to the older crew without training, would it help or hinder their speed? Obviously the first day they would be clueless and the results would be a mess. If the car ever got back on the track, a tire flying off might be a real possibility.

Third – People. In 1950 they had three people. In 2013 there are nineteen crew members.

A business leader might only see the improved performance. They want the result with the same resource as before and incremental improvement is how we improve. For a big jump though we need to balance the goal/ resource / result equation properly.

Let’s take a closer look at that pit stop performance. Yes, it was faster. All four tires got changed, but no fuel, no drink, and no windshield cleaning. When your company strives for improved performance do steps get lost? Maybe the driver has a built in drink tube, slick coatings on his face shield, and fuel economy to skip getting gas. Still there are three people on each tire, two holding the car (in the middle) and two in the front doing something with the front wings.

In our urgent desire for results, have we watched carefully or simply taken one measurement and made that a goal? Yes, the pit stop in 2013 was faster. It was also more expensive. Are you set up to get the result you need, or the one you want?

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