Avoiding The Dangers Of “Go Fever”
Have you ever played a round of golf with a group that tends to rush you as you settle in and approach the ball? You’re getting relaxed for the shot, getting your muscles and stance in place for the swing, and your friends burst out
“Ready … GOLF!”
In that seemingly innocent moment your encouraged to rush an action that is not meant to be rushed. What often results is a poor shot that goes in the woods or water, and affects your score.
In the business world, how many times has an organization rushed to accomplish a task or project, only to result in poor performance that led to disastrous results?
Take the case of NASA and Morton-Thiokol, who rushed the launch of the space shuttle Challenger despite a couple of sources, including a renowned engineer, who warned and refused to sign the launch recommendation papers the night before. Ignoring those warnings and rushing ahead according to their own schedule and effort to be “Go Ready”, the shuttle exploded shortly after launch and killed the entire crew before a stunned nation.
The pressure to succumb to “Go Fever” is very tempting and can cause even the best leadership teams to charge ahead without proper planning and double checking their systems. Consider these real scenarios that negatively impacted these organizations:
- The push to launch “New Coke” that did not heed some of the initial taste testing feedback of the focus groups and brought the brand further down for about 18 months.
- A number of new sales initiatives and program rollouts during a retail restructuring and growth phase that was also ill-timed as the company struggled to properly service it’s customers.
- Apple’s iOS Maps launch to compete with Google Maps and Waze that was grossly inaccurate and resulted in enough frustrated users that the company brought back Goole Maps to it’s App Store.
- A theme park food director that repeatedly rushed to market menu launch of products that weren’t tested. They were poorly marketed, lacked sales, and were also priced to fail in their profitability.
- Frito-Lay’s WOW branded chips that contained Olestra. This compound enabled the product to be fat-free, but did not have enough long-term testing and the Olestra molecules were found to not be absorbed in the digestive system, causing various levels of discomfort for the consumer.
- Volkswagen and Mitsubishi’s fuel-efficiency scandals in order to put a car on the market that did not perform to supposed environmental and performance specifications.
What all of these examples tell us are the pitfalls of being so eager to rush to market or leap ahead in the industry, that leaders ignore the signs or forget to plan properly before committing to any course of action. Even falsifying information to expedite the process leads to the seduction of “Go Ready” syndrome. While these scenarios have largely been overcome with time, they have come at a cost of money, staff, consumer confidence, employee confidence, and even lives in the most extreme example.
Being ready to go means a proper time to plan, test, test again, and bring a quality service and/or product to market, and instill a continued trust in your consumers and staff. Great leaders and organizations will not be tempted by “Go Fever”, nor through pressures from the industry, shareholders, internal debt, or other variables. It’s as much a function of culture as it is a product of disciplined leadership.
Make every effort to have “all systems go” when you launch your next initiative.