The opportunity that hides in plain sight

Cyril Parkinson wrote a humorous essay for The Economist magazine, in part drawing from his experience working in the British Civil Service. He observed that work tends to fill the time available for its completion.

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How many managers does an organization need?

Sometimes we do a study that we call the “Span of Control” analysis, where we look at how many subordinates report directly to each manager in an organization. It’s a more difficult study than it sounds, because the way organizational charts are drawn is not always how they really are.

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The difficulty and importance of managing “shoulder periods”

Many industries experience “shoulder periods.” These are the time periods leading up to and away from the peak volumes. Figuring out how to manage these periods can be a difficult task for managers, but it’s also very important for realizing performance improvement gains.

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The red flags of management system changes

Management system changes often entail tightening up the planning standards that are used to schedule the operations, and then providing managers with tools to control, monitor and report on attainment to the plan.

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The red flags of process changes

Implementing change requires re-configuring processes – and modifying the management systems and behaviors that need to accompany them. But as anyone who has ever tried to instill change knows, maintaining those gains can be very difficult

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They myth of working smarter, not harder

It’s not easy for any operation to go through a performance improvement change. Consultants love to say that people should: “Work smarter, not harder,” but that can be a false dichotomy.

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The insidious nature of complexity

You simply can’t be great at everything. There are not enough hours in the day, and companies would come to a grinding halt if they managed entirely by this edict.

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