Lobue News: Aug 01, 2012

LoBue Real Spotlight - 3Q 2012: What’s your current state?

Pressure. In today’s business environment, most of us suffer from it, and to a degree, accept it as a common consequence of working in the financial services sector.

The tellers scrambling in the main branch at lunchtime. The insurance underwriter struggling to acquire the necessary customer information. The IT department rushing to roll-out the latest system enhancement. The HR team administering the latest round of staff appraisals. The loan clerk missing vital customer information and trying to maintain tight turnaround standards. Pressure to perform is at an all time high, and is becoming increasingly relentless.

Still, this phenomena is likely to further intensify. While few would quibble over the fact that productivity (an undeniably crucial measure of enterprise performance) has improved immeasurably accross all markets, it has done little to relieve the performance pressure.

With the first half of 2012 now behind us, the second half promises to be every bit as pressure-packed. After some time to reflect, you may conclude that there is much to do and simply not enough time. Most likely, a quick reflection will bring to mind the obvious and common challenges; the multiple projects, operational and new business development issues, and resource requirements. These are the things that garner attention, have high visibility and take focus away from everyday customer delivery.

So, given this all too common scenario, is the optimal way forward another “we’ll try harder” approach? If there was a way to accelerate the momentum of this year’s results and to get to the budget season armed with readily available feedback of what can be improved for next year, would it be worth pursuing? The answer should be a resounding “yes”. But often, the ongoing pressure results in the response; “we are too busy now; we’ll do that at the end of the year.” Good intentions, bad timing, once again.

All organizations set a course towards an objective; the most effective ones continually assess progress and remain flexible to change, in order to reach their objective. Imagine a strong tide or wind pushing a boat off course. The destination does not change, although the course may. As the boat makes progress, it is critical to reevaluate and make necessary corrections to ensure a timely arrival.

The key is in the evaluation, as without it, the required adjustments are not understood and therefore not made. If you travel too far along a course without evaluating your progress, you can end up either taking the long way around or worse, you may never reach your final destination.