Flushing Away Profit and the Future with Command and Control Thinking

I have spent some time at a couple of large service organizations and have seen many of the same dysfunctional thinking I have posted about in the past.  The budget – which is better described as our assumptions about the future in monetary terms – was riddled with revenue forecasts and reductions in expenses at one company.  One might only label this as IBS (intellectual bull sh*t).

A systems thinking intervention and pilot was set-up to in one of the organizations seeking a small 5% decrease in expenses in their budget.  Redesigning the work against customer demand in this pilot has shown the company that they can achieve 30 – 70% reduction in expenses.  Creating a pinball “tilt” in the minds of the bean counters.  How could this be?

Well, it takes a different mindset than the existing command and control structure and thinking. This thinking probably would not meet the menial 5% reduction in expenses that managers hoped they could achieve.  Sometimes, though, it is easier to sink with the ship than to change thinking that protects status quo.

A well designed system will help this company achieve the 30% in better service, greater efficacy, etc.  But here is the kicker, if management can further adopt principles of better thinking 50% – 70% is achievable.  Unfortunately, so few can believe or fathom such business improvement in any organizational change management program they have seen or heard of to date.

However, there are organizations adopting systems thinking and reaping huge returns.  A management change in thinking will lead to those stuck in the command and control paradigm with buggy whips and dinosaurs . . . or somewhere between – slim and none – and slim just left town.  This gives a whole new meaning to entrenched management and entrenched thinking.

Haven spoken to many US companies about systems thinking you get the sense we have become a nation of whiners.  You hear things like, “it’s so hard to change our thinking” . . . is 10% unemployment enough?  What about loss of market share?  Competitive position?  Or any of the other crap that organizations pay billions to over-analyze?

Perplexing as systems thinking may be to the whiners, you can only hope that other large service organizations start to dip their toe in the water.  Because the next thing you will be dipping your toe in is Chapter 11 or 13 or selling to some foreign competitor . . . if there is anything left to buy.

Leave me a comment. . . share your opinion!  Click on comments below.

Make the new decade a profitable and rewarding one, start a new path here.  Download free from www.newsystemsthinking.com “Understanding Your Organization as a System” and gain knowledge of systems thinking or contact us about how to get started at [email protected].  Reach him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TriBabbittor LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/trippbabbitt.

Tripp Babbitt is a columist (Quality Digest and IQPC), speaker, and consultant to private and public service industry.

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