I was recently on a business trip to Hanoi Vietnam and like many large Asian cities, there were plenty of people on scooters as their primary means of transportation. At first glance, it seemed to be total chaos with scooters, cars, buses all careening around the city streets. In contrast to the United States, there were very few traffic lights, so pedestrians had to quickly discover the “unwritten rules.”
I took the picture in the photo above from a bridge over a busy street. One observes a combination of cars, trucks, buses and the ever-present masses of scooters (some loaded to the breaking point). Note the crosswalk in the middle of the picture with a lone person crossing the street. I arrived in Hanoi a couple days before my business meeting so I ventured out on foot to explore. The first time I had to cross one of the busy streets I was terrified! But one quickly recognized some of the “rules of the road.” The key is to just start walking at a steady pace and the scooters and cars will avoid you. It was a bit disconcerting with all the horns honking, but I realized they honk out of courtesy to alert you to their location.
The view from the bridge above shows that despite the apparent chaos on the street there is some semblance of order. Notice that the scooters typically ride on the right side of the road and the cars, buses and trucks occupy the center to left. Also, note the absence of any lane markings but the traffic is flowing in a fairly organized manner. There are a lot of traffic circles or roundabouts used as traffic control.
Let’s think about your product development process. When you are down in the weeds, it is easy to only see the chaos. Working with my best clients, I am able to get the “view from the bridge” and see the patterns and project flow (or lack thereof!). Having an unbiased observation, I enable clients to see through the everyday chaos and improve the efficiency of their new business and product development work.
Here’s a picture from in front of the Hanoi Opera House. This is a large roundabout and as you can see, most of the traffic is following the arrows and moving through the circle. But…note the one lone rider going the wrong way!
How many times in your organization do you have a person going the wrong way? Or a team working on the wrong product development project, or executing a bad strategy?
Give me a call and working together, we can “take a look from the bridge” to find ways to increase your revenues and improve bottom-line profits.