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The Productivity Growth Double Standard

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Business process improvement is a major initiative of many companies. So why aren’t executives looking to improve their own efficiency?

That’s the complaint of a piece from Time Back Management. It makes a couple of bold comparisons:

On the shop floor: Looking for a tool is waste.
In the C-suite: looking for information is part of work.
We’d never accept a skilled machinist spending time looking for tools…In the C-suite though? Who hasn’t spent 2, 3, 5 minutes—or more—looking for important information in piles of paper or long email strings?

On the shop floor: Do everything possible to ensure that people can work without interruption.
In the C-suite: Interruptions are so commonplace that they’re hardly even recognized.

… between open door policies and a lack of forethought, people in the office suffer an interruption every 11 minutes, with serious consequences for the quality and efficiency of their work.

On the shop floor: Everyone is on the lookout for the waste of waiting.
In the C-suite: On-time meetings are a joke.

Everyone [in production] understands the waste of waiting, and uses that problem as an opportunity to improve. Now, consider meetings in the C-suite. People wait all the time for the whole group to arrive and meetings to start.

These are hilarious, but poignant. We want business process improvement, yet the most expensive people in the company are in many respects the least efficient. What’s going on?

business improvement consultants and meetings

© Flickr user markhillary

As we’ve noted before, you don’t need management buy-in to achieve true business improvement solutions. But you do need something which many people (executive or otherwise) can find challenging: humility. If you’re not willing to change, you aren’t likely to see improvement.

At AccelaWork, we seek to help our clients with business process improvement consulting. The greatest difficulty is not the tools, but the mentality. If you’re truly ready to change, contact our consulting from based in Indianapolis.  We’d love to help your firm become a more efficient, more effective and more satisfying place to work.

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