I think we have all heard some of the somewhat hackneyed and stale marketing blurbs such as “Give them the steak. Sell them the sizzle.”, and “Perception is reality.”, and the like. This is basically the statement that style has triumphed over substance. Personally, I have not found the consuming of the “sizzle” to be nearly as satisfying as the consuming of the steak. I think that the focus on style and perception is also part of the list of issues we are encountering every day as we try to run a business.
It seems that sometimes we are actually more concerned with how we are perceived than with what we actually do and accomplish. In good times, when opportunities are rife, we may be able to succeed with a style focus. In tougher times, when there can not help but be a more attentive focus on the bottom line, it will be the quantifiable value that is provided that will be key.
In a difficult market it seems that there is a great deal more attention paid by management to how things are being done than there is to what is actually being done. As difficult as it may be, that behavior needs to stop. It is even more difficult to do when others within the organization are displaying the same bad behavior.
When others are concerned with perception and position, publically focus on deliverables and accomplishments. If some are not being as forthcoming with information and support, make sure to copy them and others on all pertinent documents and information.
It is not entirely clear if or when the business climate may improve. The needed “Reality Check” in today’s business environment is to focus on the “real” and quantitative aspects of business. We need to concentrate on the doing of what is needed to get the job done and the measuring of progress both within the business and with the customers. I think that once that reality sets in, and takes root, we can continue getting back to the business of providing value and making progress.