Management raindancing

Looking through some material whilst preparing a presentation I came across this quotation. It is one I have used on a number of past occasions.

In today’s climate it is, I think, quite pertinent:-

The performance improvement efforts of many companies have as much impact on operational and financial results as a ceremonial raindance has on the weather….This raindance is the ardent pursuit of activities that sound good, look good, and allow managers to feel good – but in fact contribute little or nothing to bottom line performance’

The quote is attributed to Thomas Terez.

How often do we look at a situation and realise that all the actions taken to improve matters have had no impact, but boy an awful lot of noise and backslapping has taken place? Far too often I would suggest.


One response to “Management raindancing

  1. Peter, thanks for the quote I may be tempted to use it.

    We find the same issues, primarily caused by two areas;

    1) Departmental “improvement” focus – customers buy from the organisation, not the individual departments. So a major improvement in one department may not result in the customer seeing or experiencing anything too different – indeed they often fail to address the customer concerns or needs.

    2) Cost Accounting – built for the age of mass production it recognises WIP and finished stock as better (more valuable) than raw materials. WIP and finished stocks often have no purchaser only a forecast that they will be bought – logically at that point they have no value – neither does the raw material bought for a forecast. Purchasing for a known order is different.

    This is slightly exaggerated but companies buy raw materials, machine, recruiting staff to convert cash into a finished service/product in the hope that their forecast is right and cost accounting encourages this.

    As continuous improvement can mean small amount of change i.e. 2 hours saved in a department there are often no attributable staff savings – the budgets and variance reports don’t reflect improvement so whats the point?

    If you want to follow these thoughts up drop me a note via Linkedin.

    Mark Greenhouse

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