I’ve enjoyed reading “Freedom from Command and Control” by John Seddon. Sometimes I wonder if it’s just me that thinks the whole world is mad, and it’s great to read something that confirms that maybe I’m not alone, and that there is an Emperor’s New Clothes thing going on with a lot of the latest management fads.
I completely agree with him when he is critical of….
– ISO9000 (it doesn’t tell you how to do a good job, and it makes it harder for you to make continuous improvements) http://www.systemsthinking.co.uk/6-3.asp
– The Excellence Model, also known as EFQM (it’s just a boring list of obvious things, like “people” and ”resources” – tell me something useful!
– Six Sigma (too expensive and too time consuming, and, he says, starts with the tools rather than with the problem. If all you’ve got is a hammer, everything looks like a nail….) They are combining it with LEAN now to give it some extra meat. Lean is fine by me, though I do feel that 50% of manufacturing Lean doesn’t really transfer very well to the service sector, but at least 50% DOES so it’s well worth studying, and if you’re in manufacturing then it’s a must.
– Balanced Scorecard (yes it’s good to measure more than just financial performance, but the question is what to measure, and that’s not an easy question to answer, and the balanced scorecard can’t and doesn’t tell you that. It has four main categories, but what do you choose within those?)
– PRINCE2 – OK, he doesn’t mention it, maybe it’s not on his radar, but if he did I bet he’d say that, like ISO9000, it’s too complicated, and doesn’t actually tell you what to do in a project, or even how to plan one.
(…ooer, I’m going to get some emails about the above collection of sacred cows!)
Anyway, that’s what John Seddon says and I’ll stick my neck out and say I agree with him. By the way, Sacred Cows that I do subscribe to are TQM, still a great idea though difficult to implement, and Continuous Improvement.
Then there’s SCRUM/Agile – sorry but it doesn’t float my boat. Some people I greatly admire think it’s good, but to me it smacks of ‘making it up as we go along’….
Oh yes, Transformational Leadership – that’s another one for my “make it into steak” herd I’m afraid. Can people really be transformed? And how would someone go about doing that, exactly? Read the small print and they never tell you.
Finally while I’m a rant roll: Net Promoter Score. A great idea, badly implemented. Brilliant to focus on customer care, SUCH an important subject, and great to boil it down to one catchy number that can be used to compare any business with any other, but…. what idiot thought that 8 is neutral and that 6 is a detractor. Is the USA maybe, but here in Blightly we NEVER give 9 or 10 even if we love things, 8 is very much a promoter, and if we are neutral we give 5 or 6. Detractors give you 0-4. So the only way to get a “real” reflection of your business is you are forced to cheat and ask customer to “put 9 if they like you”. So, a bit like cycle doping, we are comparing those who cheat and those who don’t, and so the results have no meaning any more. What a shame, it was no nearly brilliant.
The root of all of the above is our search for an easy answer – if only the latest thing would automatically make our organisations brilliant. But of course it’s never that easy, and each organisation has different needs and problems.
Maybe the answer is to keep it simple. Measure the important things, understand your processes, have a clear strategy that involves being better than your competitors, know your costs, involve your people, plan the changes, listen and communicate plans, put your customers before your internal processes etc.