Less is More

Starting with a cliché may not seem like a great place to start but I’m not always one for convention.

Reviewing contemporary management systems it occurs to me one of the key messages keeps getting lost – the end goal is less not more:

  • Less waste
  • Fewer steps
  • Less rework
  • Fewer errors
  • Less intervention
  • Fewer ‘things’ to keep an eye on

A healthy system: looks after itself; responds in time; adapts as necessary; looks ahead; learns and understands what is critical to its survival.

Our businesses won’t thrive when they are weighed down with protective systems which shift responsibility and cover so much risk that the main risk is the system itself.  ISO often led to systems defeating the very purpose they were meant to serve – to drive fewer errors, greater reliability, and greater customer assurance.

Hard work is constantly playing catch-up and getting worn down.

Great work is working hard on what really matters.

The talk now, as through the 90’s with the more enlightened, is about Lean principles. Lean is great and the rigour of Six Sigma has plenty to offer. Unfortunately it seems too few are applying these methodologies, which are hardly new.Why?

Have businesses lost sight of the critical few and been caught out by celebrating the manly pursuits of huge quality manuals, board papers and mind boggling financial reports?

How Lean is your organisation?

What could go today?

Who’s leading the charge?

Where is collaboration?

And if this isn’t happening is it because they’ve taken the easy way out – the notion that more is easier, despite all the evidence that less is more?

Will the recent financial crisis lead to even more cumbersome systems?

And the kicker! How does this impact on the way we manage?

Thoughts anyone?


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