Getting it Done and Executive Information Systems (1of2)
As a coach and consultant, I’ve worked with a number of executives
on the process of “Getting it Done” given their business realities.
One of the strongest indicators I have found for predicting success…
and self destruction, was the maturity of their “Executive
Information System (EIS).” I think we all need one and make use
of one, in one form or another. See if the next couple of observations
help you get more value out of your EIS.
Think of an Executive Information System (EIS) as something that helps you
make good decisions based upon your ability to collect, process and review
information from a GTD perspective. We all function with an EIS system,
formal or informal, whether we are in management or not.
But I’m talking to people in management in this blog, and the further up the
management chain, and the more far reaching the impact of decisions being
made, you might think that there would be more sophisticated EIS’s being used.
You might think that; I used to think that.
Think again and let’s look at why.
There certainly is a more likely chance that the executive team will have
purchased some type of EIS system. Some way to keep track of it all. But
when it comes to actually confirming it is current and being actively used,
as Ira Gershwin penned it, “It ain’t necessarily so.”
Three observations have emerged that have changed my thinking about
what’s going on in this process, let’s see if you agree.
1. First of all, what I notice about many executives is that they view/treat
Executive Information Systems they buy, like ManagePro, as sort of a
conflictual, high maintenance dating relationship. They want it,
and yet they struggle with it. They engage and then pull back. They idealize
about how great it will be, and they struggle with the effort required
(hassle factor) to get people to maintain it – isn’t that built into the software? 😉
This creates sort of a “serial dating” process with software (love ’em &
leave ’em, or love/hate – whichever phrase works best for you). Each time
there’s this attraction, idealization phase in which the preson is thinking
the EIS software is going to be wonderful. And then there’s the reality
at some point that all relationships involve work, and everyone else isn’t
as infatuated with your “new software date” as you are. It becomes work,
and work does not in any way resemble the glamerous date envisioned
above, does it? So it’s on to next.
This leads to part of what Joe Stangerlone noted in a recent blog, ”
According to a recent survey, the cost of unused software on US
businesses alone is a whopping $12.3 billion a year. Shocking, isn’t it?”
Serial dating is pervasive when it comes to management and Executive
Information Systems. It is driven by that common whipsaw of excitement
and fantasy surrounding the new purchase, followed by the tedium of
It’s expensive and it impacts the culture (the observing kids), where staff
get reinforced for not getting too attached. But if you pull back the sheets,
there are two additional forces that also impact executive’s relationships
with their EIS. I’ll cover that in a follow-up blog tomorrow.
Everyone who is in management uses some form of an EIS system. When it
comes to getting it done, you’ll have a better track record if you get
committed to developing a really effective EIS. However one of the forces that
stands in the way of everyone in management is the love-hate relationship
people often form with software, leading to the “serial dating” experience
and buying yet “another” package. Is this you? If so, it’s a pattern you’ll
want to break out of if you want to excel at Getting Things Done.