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Balance Subjectivity & Objectivity – Required Strategic Disciplines

Posted by Douglas A Wick on Thu, Sep 9, 2010

Balance is extremely important in life and running a business.  When we set goals we can concentrate so much in one direction that something extremely important gets lost or eroded in the process.  At one time Delta Airlines worked hard to get their planes to arrive on time. The consequence of their focus on delivering this outcome resulted in countless passenger bags not reaching their destination on time.  One obsession hurt performance in another aspect of the business, customer service.  It’s like a tug of war.  If there’s no one resisting on the other side there’s a loss of balance. tug o war1 resized 600

There is no more important place for business to balance then subjectivity and objectivity in operating your company.  You need both to run a successful business, yet too frequently the business is off balance, relying on one over the other.  It’s a high level aspect of business that I feel too frequently business owners and managers overlook or simply don’t recognize.

Subjectivity is the emotional aspect of your business.  It’s the squishy part that propels you forward.  It’s your commitment to a cause, quality, production, BHAG, Brand Promise, the reasons you are in business, including your core values and purpose. 

Objectivity is the data and information side.  It’s metrics and accountability.  It’s the things you can measure, revenue, profits, the facts that keep you focused on the goals the business sets.

Absent one or the other you’re out of balance.  No emotion and the business lacks heart.  No impersonal data, measurements and the company loses context and eventually goes out of business.

How do you keep these two conditions in balance in your business?  You need a system.

One Page Strategic PlanThe One Page Strategic Plan is ideally suited to provide details on the objective and subjective aspects of operating your business.  Starting on the left side of the One Page Plan you have Core Values, Purpose, BHAG, Brand Promise, and Core Competencies.  These are the elements of your business that tend to have longevity, seldom changing as they represent the core of your business principles.  Starting on this side as well is your 3-5 Year Plan, Metrics of your Relationship Drivers, Your Measureable Brand Promise and your One Year Plan, Key Thrusts and Initiatives which balance your subjective with objective measures. 

I’ve worked with countless business owners who rarely see the value of the opposite condition of their strength.  A business owner with an objective dominance sees no relevance in the subjective aspect of the business.  He runs his business by the numbers, and while his business generally lasts longer than one that is predominately subjective, he has constant turnover, customer dissatisfaction, and poor relationships.  balance_productivity__people-resized-600Eventually, if they fail to see the value in the emotional aspect to running a business, the business fails.  Subjective dominant owners run into the same challenges in the opposite side.  They rely on their gut, optimism, courage, and their relationship skills.  Customers, employees and vendors often abuse them.  Because they measure very little the business fails faster, however they are often more readily agreeable to change and fix their subjective focus.

Is your business objective or subjective focused?  How do you keep these in balance?  Do you have a system to ensure these two elements are supporting your growth?

Topics: Discipline Plan, One Page Strategic Plan, Balance

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Doug Wick, President

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The Strategic Discipline Blog focuses on midsize business owners with a ravenous appetite to improve his or her leadership skills and business results.

Our 3 disciplines include:

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