Why your organisation isn’t working
It’s insane. Not so long ago I was responsible for putting the technical platform in place for the rollout of a huge set of new computer systems for a major multi-national. As part of that, my team needed to get one line added to one file on one system. I know this takes five minutes because back in the day I did it myself – the change is about as complicated as updating your Facebook status (and a lot less risky). It’s not that one of my guys just fired off a request and waited; we chased it constantly, leading to vast numbers of email messages, phone calls, even meetings with senior managers. No-one was maliciously obstructive (although many were obstructive); the people involved generally knew their jobs and tried to help, but still the change didn’t get done. This was not an isolated incident; things like this were happening all the time. We had meetings and wrote proposals to streamline processes but not much changed. I don’t think I worked for a particularly dysfunctional company – when I talk to friends in other companies, they have the same experience.
So what’s going on? It wasn’t always like this. People used to come to work, do useful stuff then go home. 90% of people did productive work with the ‘overhead’ being mostly limited to management.
My aim in this blog is to explain what changed, how it destroyed productivity, why it’s so hard to fix and what to do about it. I cover what communication span is and why it matters, the downsides of outsourcing, how silos kill productivity, how not to offshore and people you should fire, with more to come.
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