Blog Post

Defining Objectives First Will Lead to Success

January 13, 2015
I recently attended a communications conference and one story stuck with me.
One of the speakers, Paul Smith, shared the story that reminds me of the importance of how we do what we do every day at SE2.
The story goes:
A local district judge assigned a group of students to look into how to improve the jury deliberation process. These students conducted interviews. They asked questions. And they found a solution.
They discovered that what really mattered in the jury deliberation process was not the demographics of the jurors, but the shape of the table in the jury room.
With a rectangular table, there was always a juror sitting at the head of the table. This often resulted in some jurors not speaking their minds if their opinions were in conflict.
When jurors sat at round tables, they could see each other better, discuss the case, and listen to different points of views.
The students discovered that round tables resulted in more accurate and just decisions.
They were excited by the results and they reported back to the judge. He listened and immediately stated that all round jury tables should be replaced with rectangular ones.
Why?
Because the judge’s objective was not to make the jury deliberation process more just or fair, but to make it faster and move more cases through the process.
Paul Smith’s friend uses this story to illustrate how important it is to be clear on your objectives.
This is an important lesson for any organization and it’s something that we always consider when we start new projects.
Our process begins with “Mapping” where we work with our clients to define their goals. Rather than just getting started on the work, we are intentional and thoughtful, working with the client to ensure that we have identified the objectives before moving forward.
Taking this time for this strategic thinking can make the difference between a successful project, and one that misses the mark.

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