#30: Don’t get side-tracked

Heard about T. Boone Pickens? A well-known American business magnate and corporate raider. Ranked (by Forbes) as 328th richest person in America. Receiver of the 2009 Bower Award for Business Leadership for 50 years of visionary leadership in oil and energy and for his philanthropic leadership contributing to education, medical research, and wildlife conservation.

T. Boone Pickens often shares his wisdom in simple, effective and colorful phrases. Like this one: “When you are hunting elephants, don’t get distracted chasing rabbits.”

Based on his business insights, rule #30 for consultants is: Don’t get side-tracked.

Stay focused on your client’s primary goal. Stay on track. Don’t get distracted by minor issues. Don’t chase all the other opportunities which suddenly pop up and might knock you off the right course. Don’t get satisfied before the needed results are accomplished. Don’t get side-tracked.

Time for some real life examples?
Think about a financial services company aiming to build a holistic and totally automated digital branch for all electronic channels. The pushiness of a smart salesman from a consultancy arguing with the rise of smartphone banking apps leads to a mobile development initiative whose project burn rate eats up nearly the whole budget. What was planned as a multichannel digital branch for all customer segments ends up as a fancy smartphone app mainly for younger private customers. Talk about chasing rabbits!

Take a state-owned organization responsible for operating a national network of airports. There’s a great business case for an integration middleware to automate information exchange between airlines, handling companies and the airports. Reduced aircraft-on-ground-time, optimized capacity planning, improved passenger information, quicker access to correct data required for airline invoicing – potentials like that. Using the integration platform to realize services for a new employee portal looks smart and easy. Rabbit #1: Intranet for employees. To realize the employee-portal, an Identity Management and Access Management (IM/AM) solution must be implemented first. Some months and many millions later all resources are still bound up in chasing rabbit #2: Implementation of IM/AM.

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