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It is only when you stop and critically appraise a proposal not only from the point of view of the originator but also the end-user that the true worth becomes apparent.
When was the last time you really reviewed your processes? I don’t mean just taking a quick check to ensure they are still working, I mean really look at them in depth to determine what they are actually contributing to organisational understanding or delivery; or, in fact, whether they are still required.
It’s a fair bet that if you critically appraised each one of your systems, processes and reports you would find significant numbers which are either obsolete or fall in to the ‘nice to have but contribute nothing’ category. But every one of these processes takes time and resources and if they contribute nothing to the business then why aren’t you simply scrapping them and reallocating resources to innovative projects which will deliver genuine improvement?
Let me give you an example, albeit a fairly dramatic one. The think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs has recently undertaken a review of the UK’s traffic light systems. Amid a wealth of statistics arising from the report, the highlight is that a two minute delay to every car trip, occasioned by traffic lights, equates to a cost of some 16 billion per year to the British economy. The report concludes that scrapping some 80% of traffic lights and replacing them with a voluntary give-way or feed in turn system would retain safety and yet deliver substantial economic and social benefits.
Whether in government or in business it’s all too easy to impose more; more reporting, more restrictions, more red tape. It is only when you stop and critically appraise a proposal not only from the point of view of the originator but also the end-user that the true worth becomes apparent. Do you want to waste people’s time in requiring them to report something which you think would be nice to know or do you want them to spend their time productively in creating wealth, profits and genuine outcomes?