I can’t shake the overwhelming feeling that there is something wrong with business today. Grant it I have been reading books like Linchpin and Rework, but they have been confirming my thoughts rather than introducing radical new concepts. The amount of excess and waste is astonishing and entirely ineffective.
An organization I recently did some work with had 5 people in the office. This seems like a fairly waste free office on the surface right? Expect when you start going position by position. You had 2 low pay position, one a financial and one an analyst, a mid range marketing/communications person, a high paid operations person, and director.
Except the analyst and marketing person each had about half a job to do, and worked closely with each other. The financial person and the operations person were the same way. The director did next to nothing. 5 positions could have easily become 2. So when I asked this organization why they had 5 the answer was because they had funding for 5, so they may as well use it.
As a good friend of mine likes to say, just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. Fast forward a year or so later and that same organization is looking at a financial issue. It seems their budget projections no longer match their requirements. Their solution is to add more people to the organization in hopes of generating more money. They want to shift product offerings and gradually abandon the things that have given them a strong market share to something that has yet to find an audience.
Cart before horse.
This seems to be a common problem I see. Companies get into a pinch and they decide to make radical changes. The first thing they decide is that whatever service or product that got them to this point must be wrong and needs to be dumped for something new. What new offerings do they choose? What they are interested in obviously. They fail to take the step to see if their customers want this new offering.
Man in the mirror.
The next step is to do one of two things, either grow rapidly hoping that more people = more money or remove people hoping that less salary = more money. The problem is that growth is rarely the solution, and the people you remove are typically (not always) not the problem. Sometimes it is that high paid employee who contributes nothing to the organization other than supervision. Bees can still live without the queen, but they starve without the workers.
What if you had an organization that had a solid product and worked each day on making it better? If that organization hired just what they needed and got the most out of each person, including the CEO/Owner? If before making a move, even small, they asked why, and is this needed? If this organization focused on making work beneficial to everyone (workers, owners, customers) would you want to be a part of it?