Greetings. Do you ever feel that you're not really accomplishing anything? Or, that you're not accomplishing anything important? If so, you can probably relate to the simple arcade game called "Whack-a-Mole." Invented by Aaron Fechter in 1971, it's a fun test of reflexes and eye-hand coordination, and a great way to get rid of a bit of excess stress, energy or even hostility. Simply use the appointed club to whack a bunch of pesky moles as they peek their adorable plastic heads out of their holes. The more moles you successfully whack the more points you receive. And if you are remarkably skillful you win a prize…or the chance to play the game all over again. It's fun and slightly addictive until you acknowledge that the moles are likely to win. After all, they know their terrain (or the design of the game) far better than any of us ever will.
Taken as an arcade game, "Whack-a-Mole" is a lot of fun. The real problem is the fact that many of us end up playing this game continually in our workplaces. And it's often sanctioned by our leaders and managers who either: (a) delight in seeing how much we can do without getting any important work done, or (b) have no clue what important work needs to be done. So they hide behind "the way we've always done things around here" or a set of business processes and practices that keep us from ever getting at the good stuff–while the world of more-focused competitors pass us by. They even reward us to keep swinging at our own version of moles and praise us for the time, energy and conviction we bring to the battle. Even if it's the wrong battle.
So here's your challenge. Take a few moments to figure out how you can make a real difference in your company or organization's success by getting the stuff that doesn't matter off your plate and focusing your efforts on the work that's critical for the external or internal customers you serve. Then developing your plan for being way faster, way cheaper or way more valuable to the folks who really count on you. By changing or reinventing the game focused on the results they need to achieve. By questioning the way things are done and the things themselves. By looking for ways to drive new ideas that change the nature of your relationship with those you serve. By becoming more flexible, adaptable and relevant to your market. By using your club and your gift for innovation to strike the moles and challenges that really matter.
We win in business and in life when we change the game. And in the process create greater value for ourselves, our organizations and our customers.