Most of us remember school physics and the cause-effect lessons in a game of billiards. What interests me now is cause-effect in business. What is it that makes certain (target) outcomes certain? Is that not what we all want to know? The other side of the question is: what is causing the outcomes we don’t want (but consistently get) so that we know what to change?
In my experience, business leaders make decisions with due consideration……….of a fraction of the facts. When you have a 90 degree view of what is a 360 degree landscape, you can end up changing the wrong thing, and then convincing yourself that what you got as an outcome was what you wanted, or due to some “external” factor interfering with the result. It was Jim Collins in From Good to Great who said that great leaders look in the mirror when things go wrong and through the window when things go well. No one says it is easy. Leadership is tough. Ask Graham Henry, Richie McCaw or indeed, Alan Joyce.
Some leaders don’t like to confer widely as they assume people’s expectations will be raised by this. In my experience, people who are involved and trusted make better partners than those who are left in the dark and alienated.
Often causation is complex. It is a multitude of factors that together cause a compound effect. Often, there is a range of sources – each person or team has a piece of the answer. If people understand the big picture and are encouraged to stay informed about “cause-effect” within the business, their thinking is more appropriate, decisions are better and their actions more success-driven.
People hold back a large percentage of what is available for contribution to a business. Of the keys to success, getting people to contribute fully has to be one of the most important. Challenging them to understand (and help to identify) what the cause-effect relationship is among elements in the business is the first step.