What Cost Outrage? 3 Ways Outrage Impairs Organizations

So much outrage, so little time.  We barely have time to get off the adrenalin of one attack of outrage before the next one hits us.  On one day in the Wall Street Journal, the word “outrage” appeared 191 times.  In one week in the New York Times, 3,810 times.  We get consumed with outrage over things as big and morally significant as the acceptability of sexual violence in Indian society, and as insignificant as the length of Kim Kardashian’s marriage.  Outrage has gone beyond being a fad to being the way we express all manner of emotions on a wide spectrum.  And it has even become the accepted way of talking to each other – or more correctly, talking at each other. Continue reading

“Let’s Shoot the Sacred Cows!” – A Guide to Corporate Cultural Revolution

shoot sacred cowsOne day, over lunch with two of my corporate colleagues, we challenged each other to form a list of all the company’s sacred cows: the norms no one challenges, the unspoken behavioral rules, the gospel according to long corporate practice.  Gleefully, we started listing them.  Soon, however, the glee turned more serious.  Without really trying, in just one hour, we had a three-page, single-spaced list – with no duplications!  We’d never imagined there could be so many.  Was this a good thing or a bad thing? Continue reading

At What Cost Efficiency?

Let’s continue our re-examination of business doctrines.  Not only is it instructive, it’s subversively fun!  Last week we considered the business advice to focus on results.  This week we’ll take pot-shots at its cousin, the business focus on efficiency.

Since the time of Frederick Taylor’s ‘scientific management’ theories, business has been on a relentless rampage of seeking efficiency in its work.  The Total Quality movement and its penultimate incarnation, Six-Sigma, have made the pursuit of efficiency and driving out costs not just a customer benefit, but a certification-packaged point of business competitiveness.  Continue reading

“Focus on Results” – Is That All There is?

We take for granted so many business maxims, and indoctrinate every generation of corporate worker with the same litany of go-to business ‘truths’ – sadly, without re-examining them or re-interpreting them.  Even religious scholars, steeped in centuries of doctrinal enshrinement, attempt to review and reinterpret meaning.  So let’s start doing it with corporate doctrine as well.

Let’s start with “Focus on results”.  Who can argue that this is not a key to business success?  If we don’t keep an eye on the business bottom line, and in fact, keep that eye very wide open, how long will our business survive?  But is it entirely the ‘results’ that should be the focus of that wide-open eye? Continue reading