Saturday, April 2, 2011

Management Misnomers

To a few of my fellow managers,
Please stop twisting terms to suit your needs.  For example:
  • "Lean" does not mean cutting every ounce of fat in your organization, then cutting the muscle, followed by cutting off pieces of the skeleton.  A skeleton isn't lean, it's dead.
  • "Reducing variation" as used in Six Sigma does not mean you tell your customers or your employees "It's my way or the highway".
  • When Jim Collins wrote "From Good to Great" and referred to getting people "off the bus", he didn't mean the only people left on the bus should be sycophants.  
  • Your "value stream" does not mean doing exactly what the people with the most money want you to do at any given moment.  You can't look at your "value stream" until you realize who must value what you're doing. Start by doing an honest stakeholder assessment or any analysis of a value stream is meaningless.  And by the way, your end users and your employees are stakeholders.
  • "Transformative Culture" is not the boss standing at a podium and telling people they have to do everything differently, and it has to be exactly what the boss wants.  The boss can certainly tell people what to do, but that's top-down hierarchical leadership - not a transformative culture.  Call it what it is.

OK, now I feel a little better.

Ed Thomas

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