Thursday, May 8, 2008

Angel Bullet Points, Devilish Details

Often do you get into a session where you are told that life is all rosy and no thorns? You have all solutions and no problems anymore ?

Have you often been in situations especially after power point presentations where the bullet points sound great positive statements OR a client gives you a presentation which seems a very comprehensive requirements spec and all is expected is to dive to work and deliver exactly what is told ?

Well, experience has taught me to always see "dangling carrots in air" without getting the sweetness of a bite and the freshness of it.

What corporate culture does not teach you and so does your education is to differentiate between "negativism and criticism". Hence we tend mostly to accept/believe the angelical bullets, so as not to send the impression of a pessimist. Thus the devil escapes always hidden in the context or details and comes out when you already know where you are.

To clear the conception, here is my 'criticism'.
  1. Negativism is an argument while criticism is discussion.
  2. Negativism is a body language while criticism is a thought language.
  3. Negativism is perception while criticism is lack of belief due to absence of data.
  4. Negativism is indiscipline while criticism is discipline with conviction.
  5. Negativism is drag while criticism is a pull factor.
I find it always illuminating to see and work with data than presenter interpretations. I arrive at my own conclusions and wait to see if the presenter rallies upon the same interpretation sequence but intelligently detours to give a different perspective.

Consider meetings, such as these:
1. Target setting and business climate presentations - They definitely sound great, where everything is "BIG" and challenging. But should not the data about the current team SWOT be the most pressing bullets for setting targets and driving action.

2.
Justifying a decision that affects emotionally - Should not the data about speculations doing the rounds be addressed in bullets, rather than giving a management spiel of a strategic decision/direction necessitating such decision? Can you be counted as a "on-board person" for such reasoning ?

3.
New business initiatives - Well, even I do this many times. Google for public market research data and mostly you get them in free domain after their validity is out of date. Use them to show graphs, data, impressive quotes from various people, to justify our entrance and a strategy to corner some business.
Rather should not the initiative be based on whether you have let such opportunities pass, how many of them and what is your reasonable guesstimate of opportunity cost, the wishes of team, the readiness of sales force, operations team, availability of talent pool, cost overheads required and best of all the corporate patience ingrained in the culture ? But how many times does this approach give you the "buy-in" required ?

4. Solution Architecture diagram:
How many times as a consultant have you made a slide on disadvantages and overheads required to make the solution work ? When a solution can deliver all goods, then where would be the case for repeat business and business excellence and continuous improvement ? If these devilish details are not covered, then how do you believe in Angelical bullets ?

In the absence, I prefer pessimism, if that is what needs to be term used to call "ground zero validation".

Why is it always "preaching" as a presenter in most cases is about good and no bad at all? Isn't it disconnected with the ground and what purpose does this achieve ??

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