Scaling Up Excellence – Notes from Chapter 2 (Part 2 of 3)

“Though there is no magic formula to make the vexing tensions and trade-offs vanish, the best leaders and teams stay on the lookout for signs of overkill. They search for signs of excessive “localization” or “standardization” – signs that it is time to move a little, or a lot, toward the other end of the continuum.”

Three Questions That Can Help Detect When a Move is Wise

1. Do you suffer from delusions of uniqueness? 
Shrewd adaptations to local constraints are essential for expanding a footprint. But beware of leadership teams that balk at replication because they–or the settings they are in–are so “special” or “different.” They may be suffering from delusions of uniqueness that foster misguided Buddhism. Too often, we humans convince ourselves that proven rules or technologies don’t apply to us or the apparently unique place or situation we are in, when, in fact, we are fooling ourselves.”

“The biggest complaint tat people have about health care is that no one ever takes responsibility for the total experience of care, for the costs, for the results.”

2. Do you have a successful template to use as a prototype?
“Finding the right blend of “standard” and “custom” when you are scaling up an organization often requires a messy, time-consuming, and costly process of trial and error. But some strategies speed such learning. If you aren’t sure, a good general rule is to start with a complete model or template that works elsewhere and watch for signs that certain aspects of the model aren’t working and need to be rebuilt, replaced, or removed.” We recommend resisting the temptation to roll out an unproven mishmash of best practices if you can avoid it. It is essential to identify a template that can be ‘seen’ and ‘touched’ in a single, specific location.”
prototype suit1Iron_Man_film_armor

3. Will bolstering Buddhism generate crucial understanding, commitment, and innovation?
“Relying on prebuilt, replicable, and proven “subassemblies” usually produces cheaper, faster, and more reliable solutions. As we saw with those Boston knee surgeons, there are times when-no matter how mightily people object–replication is a superior strategy. Delusions that each of us is a special person in a special place can gum up the works. Yet injecting a bit of Buddhism has advantages (beyond just enabling customization) that should be factored into scaling decisions.”

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