Performing a Brain Enema on US Service Organizations

The appeal for a change of thinking in the design and management of work in US service organizations is one requiring a certain . . . attention.  So, as opposed to a change of thinking, a brain enema may seem more appropriate.  A complete flushing, not of gray matter, but of the flawed beliefs that inhabit the gray matter regarding business improvement.

What is at issue?  Quite a lot for service organizations, these items are well-documented on my website.  The command and control approach which is diametrically different than systems approach I promote (see command and control vs. systems thinking).  But the problems run deeper for me, as a “reformed” Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt I have seen more waste and sub-optimization than I care to post.  When you see that Lean and Six Sigma are very limiting compared to the magnitude of change that you get from a management brain enema.  I have seen black belt projects that save anywhere from $25,000 to $300,000, but with systems thinking the magnitude is far greater and systemic.  This is especially applicable to service and improvements come quickly.

What needs to be flushed?  One management paradigm to be expelled is the notion that work is activity and activity is cost.  The preoccupation with 3 questions:

How much work is there to do?
How many people will it take to do the work?
How long will it take people to do the work?

These questions lead to focus on the wrong things like targets, procedures, scripts technology, standardization and many other cost increasing, service decreasing actions.

Economies of flow has caught the attention of many readers.  Here is where we flush out the three questions (above) and look at our systems from the perspective of the customer outside-in and dump measures of activity to those associated with customer purpose.  The result is better service, increased capacity, reduced costs and improved culture.  Yes, even culture is improved as purpose is understood and better measures from the work a service company can allow the worker to engage their gray matter to improve method and even to innovate.  Sure beats the prescribed, command and control method that only audits compliance based on subjective criteria.

Flushing out the brain can lead to improved performance for your service company, but only if you replace it with better thinking.

Leave me a comment. . . I can take it!  Click on comments below.

Tripp Babbitt is a speaker, blogger and consultant to service industry (private and public).  His organization helps executives find a better way to make the work work.  Download free from “Understanding Your Organization as a System” and gain knowledge of systems thinking or contact us about our intervention services at [email protected].  Reach him on Twitter at or LinkedIn at

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