Produce Effective Results – Get Better at Getting Better

This is an excerpt from the book ‘Get Better at Getting Better’ written by Chandramouli Venkatesan. In this book, Chandramouli writes about the ‘Get Better Model’, or GBM-your model to continuously improve how good you are. Which helps you to know what you need to achieve extraordinary success – it’s something other than core capabilities like analytical skills, people skills, conceptual and intuitive skills, hard work and hunger for success. He identifies this as developing the capability to succeed and continuously improve that capability. 

The below excerpt explains a simple framework for producing results and right framework for meetings.
To improve the results, it is important to have a simple framework for producing results. The simplest framework I use has these three components:

  1. We know which outcomes/results we are chasing.
  2. We know what the most important drivers for those results are.
  3. We know how to influence those drivers positively to impact the end result.

I want to introduce a simple framework which I call the ‘result-drivers’ framework or the Y = f(X) framework, where Y is the result and the Xs are the drivers. For example, if the outcome we are interested in is related to costs in a factory, the result and the drivers would look like this:
Outcome (Y): Total cost in the factory
Drivers (Xs): Raw material cost, packaging cost, employees’ cost, wastage and yield, utility costs like electricity or steam, overhead costs like canteen, administration, transport, etc.
Each of these is a separate driver and can be denoted as X1, X2 and so on.
In this framework, as we think about improving the result (Y), the method of finding the answer is two-fold:

  1. Identifying all the drivers (Xs) which impact that result
  2. Improving those drivers which make the greatest difference.

You start improving the results only if you continuously get better at both these steps and effective meetings are a crucial stepping-stone to this.
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The right framework for meetings

The starting point to effective meetings is to be very clear on which results (Ys) the meeting is aimed at. Often there are meetings where the participants do not have a shared understanding of which Ys they are trying to work on. Different participants come into the meeting with different Ys which they want to improve and what ensues is what we colloquially call a khichdi, a complete mishmash of a meeting. In the factory cost meeting, if the finance person wants to improve the cost, but the production person wants to improve the volume produced and the HR person in the same meeting wants to decrease attrition, no progress will be made. It is important to get the entire group aligned to solving the same ‘Y’. Different people can have different ways of solving it—that is fine—but if different people start solving for different Ys then it becomes a completely non-productive meeting. If there are different Ys that have to be solved, then ideally each Y should be solved in a different meeting, not the same meeting. Meetings are most productive when all participants work towards the same outcome.

The second step is to define Y=f(X). A clear listing of all the drivers that can impact Y has to be prepared in advance and all the participants should be aware of the drivers and be in agreement.
Once the results and the drivers are defined, the actual meeting should proceed as follows:
First, discuss the outcome itself—have the results improved, remained the same or worsened? What are the short-term and long-term trends of Y?

  1. Then review the drivers, all the Xs. Here, it is necessary to review the drivers in order of importance, with the most important driver first and the least important driver last.
  2. Most importantly, improve your understanding of the relationship between outcome and drivers. When the Y and Xs are discussed in the same meeting the participants will be able to understand the linkages. They are able to draw inferences on which X impacts Y and by how much.
  3. Make a plan for how you will improve the Xs to achieve Y.
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Read this powerful and life-changing book Get Better at Getting Better by Penguin India to unlock your potential at work, and in life, and constantly get better.

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