When making a decision on anything I try to use my common sense first. If I want fine dining, I’d avoid McDonalds. And if I want budget clothes, I wouldn’t shop in Harrods.
So why is that common sense not extended elsewhere?
Business Common Sense
When people use the term Business Acumen, I translate that as business common sense. That’s being able to look at a problem, understand the objective and think about what is the simplest, most efficient and pragmatic way to get to that outcome.
But I see that way of thinking being replaced by something else.
Politics and Popularity
When you start adding ingredients into a mix that does nothing to benefit the outcome, you not only make it harder to get to the result, but you risk decreasing the quality of that outcome.
One thing being heavily pushed currently is video interviewing. And whilst I believe it has genuine benefits, I also feel that it should be used with common sense.
For example, a video interview is better than a telephone interview as it adds another sensory dimension to the audio only option that exists via telephone. But if the job is going to be working on site with other people physically, how is a video interview better than a face to face interview?
Pushed rather than Promoted
Taking video interviewing as an example again; it is being pushed rather than promoted in a growing fashion. A video interview is easier for the recruiter, but is it best for the hiring manager? And that for me is a bit of a problem.
I see endless LinkedIn posts pushing video interviews with an approach that implies that anyone not using it is a dinosaur.
Back to Reality
But this is my point regarding common sense. If the job is face to face, then why not interview face to face? It is a better solution for the client. Trying to imply that it is an outmoded technique in the same way that stream engines are out of date contrasts common sense.
You are adding an unnecessary ingredient that doesn’t need to be in place for many roles. Sometimes it is useful, but sometimes it isn’t. Horses for courses.
What is seen as popular from a marketing angle is increasingly seen as a necessary function in order to attract and retain talent. But those same adaptations can alienate existing staff, add unnecessary levels to the ecosystem and dilute the quality of the objective outcomes.
For example. How many companies have Job Functions that are completely unnecessary but from a marketing perspective appear beneficial? I’d argue that most corporates have people in unnecessary positions on multiple levels. And you’ll see the actual importance of these roles because as soon as there is a recession, they get made redundant first and nobody else see’s a need for them in their business.
Many of these roles, processes and techniques that do not need to be done are done because common sense does not weigh into the decision making process.
To retain influential people in the business, you could give them a favourable promotion. If a role does not exist create one. Sure, it may lose money, but losing that person could lead to losing many more people who make money. For that reason, it makes sense whether you agree with it or not. Some sacrifices need to be done for the greater good as long as there is a measurable and beneficial outcome.
But creating a role that does not need to be done, to appear popular on social media for a financial loss and to pose an image that does not have any measurable benefit is backward.
Pushing techniques that do not add anything substantial other than complexity to appear progressive, is a financially irresponsible tactic.
Many companies, notably corporates, have processes and people that they don’t need. The processes had good intentions when implemented, but you don’t need to be a 6 Sigma expert to work out that many of these processes don’t need to be done. Positions have been created to appear progressive, but the only thing they’ve progressed is an unnecessary task list and extra costs.
When making any business decisions keep it simple. What is the desired outcome > What do you actually need to achieve that outcome > Put those things in place and then Monitor, Assess and Improve? Just use common sense.
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