You Can’t Drive Your Car with Your Rear View Mirror

Rear View_Chris GaraffaWhile safe driving tips usually say you should check your mirrors frequently, there’s a good reason why the rear-view mirror covers only three percent of the size of your windshield: if it is too large it’s a distraction that obscures the view ahead.

If this is such good advice why do so many companies spend so much time and energy falling prey to the Measurement Minutiae ailment when it comes to supplier scorecards? And why is that coupled with so much time on the agenda in a supplier Quarterly Business Review delving into the past, versus planning for the future? Unfortunately – too many companies are Driving Blind when it comes to managing a suppliers performance as they seek to manage through a rear view mirror that weighs past performance against detailed SLAs (service level agreements) instead of looking ahead to see how you are tracking against your Desired Outcomes.

I am not saying ignore the past. While a forward-thinking attitude and approach is the best recipe for success, there is a catch (there’s always a catch). Forward thinking doesn’t exist in a vacuum—there has to be some foundation upon which to build those forward ideas. As William Shakespeare says in The Tempest, “What’s past is prologue.” Another way of putting this is that you learn from your mistakes—hopefully!—and move forward.

The Vested methodology guides organizations through how to create forward thinking strategies and put them in action, starting with business partners jointly developing a shared vision and mutually defined Desired Outcomes that chart the territory of where you are going. Check out our Open Source toolkit to download a copy of the Vested Requirements Roadmap template to see how this great open source resource can challenge you to look ahead and help you measure success against your Desired Outcomes versus rear-view-facing activity level metrics and events.

Image: Rear View by Chris Garaffa via Flickr CC

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