Powerpoint: A Substitute for Action (& Pub Strategy)

We invest a good chunk of our time and energy at work puzzling over strategies, measurable objectives, roadmaps and implementation schedules.

The fruits of our labour culminate in a powerpoint that’s approved, a box ticked and a consensus reached that we all have very, very good intentions.

In reality, 90% of organisations fail to execute their strategies successfully.

What’s more, it’s estimated that managers spend more than $10 billion annually on strategic analysis and strategy formulation, meaning $9 billion is wasted every year.

So what’s going on? Why aren’t we questioning these ingrained behaviours and processes?

The answer doesn’t lie in more, better powerpoints. It lies in human interactions and relationships: the stuff of culture. Galvanising change relies on setting big inspiring goals, removing barriers and setting people free.

But first comes the courage to ask why. Why are we doing this? What are we actually trying to achieve? What would happen if we abandoned the powerpoint protocol and focused on the goal?

A weird thing about many workplaces is the fact they teach us to sound good but mean nothing. We play the game all day, sounding snappy, crafting beautiful slides… then head down the pub. After a few drinks, we’ll start talking animatedly with colleagues about stuff we all believe in, laugh at the nonsensical way we’re doing things, or the way the management is doing things, talk about what it would be like if we could inspire one-another and achieve x, y or z amazing thing.

Then the next day, we’ve sobered up and get dragged back to the day-to-day treadmill of being busy running the place.

You see, vision is already there.

It can come from anyone. All that’s needed is a passion for something and a view of how things can be different.

Grasping this simple fact might help save some of that $9 billion. And the thought of some consultant like me being brought in to ‘facilitate executives in creating a vision’ might start to seem pretty funny.

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