How anarchy can boost productivity

Over the last 25 year I’ve been working as a business analyst in improvement consulting, helping larger businesses to improve performance in 3 fields:

1.   Efficiency and productivity

2.   Customer centricity

3.   Employee engagement

Despite all the technological improvements, every time we conduct a business review we find up to 45% efficiency-improvement potential, poor customer service and unhappy and even disengaged personnel.

Managers and consultants have been using mainly 2 levers to boost performance for the last decades.

On one hand a hard one (process improvement, standards, procedures, management control systems, …) and on the other hand a softer one (team building sessions, individual coaching, cow-hugging, …)

And still, performance in large organizations is extremely poor, leading to a situation where especially mid-management must work long hours to untangle all complexity risking a burn-out or total disengagement.

Every single new problem, every bottleneck was solved with implementing more rules, coordinators, work groups, facilitators etc.… Creating a rain forest of complexity.

Today the remedies of the past became obsolete. Getting rid of “burocrazy” and embracing simplicity are today the only way to implement a true culture of continuous improvement, leading to huge gains in the 3 fields. It’s no longer the strongest team that wins the race, but the team that cooperates in the best way.

·        Forget the classic sealed containers in the organization chart and really try to understand what the other people in the organization are doing whole day long. Forget coordinators or liaison officers.

·        Get rid of the army-styled organization with 5-6 layers of management and empower your people and implement commando structures

·        Create a culture where making mistakes is not something to be afraid of, but an opportunity to improve.

If everyone understands and has empathy for what the others are doing, if you get rid of hierarchy and people are no longer afraid of making mistakes, you give an oxygen boost to your organization to what really matters, and that is not spending whole day in meetings covering your back, it’s not about who has the biggest office, the most expensive company car nor the highest Hay-scale grade, but about the employees and the clients.

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