P&C planning mistake no. 6 – We offer too much and then fail to deliver it

In the past few years many teenagers have become obsessed with Op Shops. Great. Love it. Recycling is good. But for me, I am in overwhelm the minute I step into the shop. I am paralysed by choice. So many things and I don’t know where to start.

Compared to stepping into an Apple store. It’s sparse, clean and as soon as you get there someone helps you work out what you need and off you go. Not too much. Not too little. Or Aldi. The choices are taken away. Only one brand of pasta, one Swiss cheese, one can of tomatoes. Easy to decide and the quality is good.

Apple and Aldi have worked out that less is more. They don’t have a ‘sell everything’ strategy. It works for them. I reckon organisations could be better at this when it comes to the training they offer their people. We can’t do everything. Unless you are throwing a massive budget at it with lots of people to resource these plans.

In Gary Keller’s book; Just One Thing he teaches us that we will be more successful if we FIND ONE THING THAT WILL AFFECT THE WHOLE ORGANISATION AND THROW EVERYTHING AT IT.

In the 80’s Alcoa, the 100-year old aluminium business, was on the decline. Product lines were faltering, people were leaving, accidents were occurring every single day. Shareholders were demanding a solution. Paul O’Neill was appointed as the new CEO to ‘save the day’.

After many conversations, observations and analysis he decided on his strategy. At his first public address to Wall Street he announced his plan. People were nervous and hopeful. After all, this was going to be the plan to keep Alcoa afloat and rebuild again. Paul started with; “I want to talk to you about workplace safety”. The room went into hushed conversations everywhere. WTF they were saying. (Well they didn’t talk in acronyms then but you get the gist). People were confused and disappointed and now wondering; ‘Is this the right guy?’.

From then on, every time he spoke or ran a meeting he’d start them with; ‘If in the case of an emergency…” Every meeting had safety as the no 1 agenda item. If someone was being treated poorly he would address it in the moment. He made every person look at their role in making a safe workplace. He was relentless in his pursuit.

He said; “I knew I had to transform Alcoa but you can’t order people to change. So I decided I was going to start by focusing on one thing. If I could start disrupting the habits around one thing it would change the entire company”. 

The result? Alcoa became the safest company in the world. Increased profit by 5 times and market cap grew by $27M. All within 18 months.

In all our goodwill we offer a plethora of content on a learning and development calendar. It’s a smorgasbord for learning. It’s options galore. Great for the learning junkies. 

For most it can create indecision. 

What’s your ONE THING that is foundational to creating a kickarse culture? If you don’t know this, then you are unlikely to have built it. If you know it and you’re not excelling it in – then don’t pile truckloads of other initiatives on top in the hope it will work. Waste of time and effort and you’ll feel like you’re chasing your tail. Coz you are.


Can’t decide what is your one thing? I reckon feedback is pretty foundational in work and in life. Come along to my next online event on Embedding a feedback culture in 2023. Get the dates and register here.