Design like an Italian, build like a German and execute like the Chinese. It is a crude generalisation I know, but I have been thinking that we need a lens through which we can benchmark our own performance. Maybe it is simpler to say that everything we do should be beautiful and done with great care. I have written before about the value of ‘charm’ and of being world class as a way of future proofing your work; doing what can’t be faked by others, what can’t be done cheaply. As we strive for greater performance we need to see our efforts as a journey through design, build and execution – getting feedback, learning from it and shifting what we are doing closes the loop and drives continuous improvement. No longer will it be sufficient to learn and adapt; instead it will be the speed with which we learn and adapt that will differentiate the successful organisations from those left behind. To this point, we have been working to help organisations match their internal capability to their external ambition – the reality is that few organisations have people that are capable of delivering on their value promise or strategies – this is killing performance. As Tom Peters says, 35% of an organisation’s success comes down to how enabled its people are.

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