What should be the manager's stance towards this saying?  As anyone who works in a large matrixed organization knows, there are inefficiencies all over the place that you come across on a daily basis.  If these lie outside your direct sphere of control do you spend the time trying to report and correct them?  Where do you draw the line on focusing your own effectiveness within the organization ( your time ) with attempting to drive the effectiveness of the organization as a whole? 

For example, let's say I find a process improvement that takes me only 5 minutes to workaround, but extrapolated out to 200 managers whom I know have to work around the same thing would be almost 18 hours of wasted time.  So seems to suggest the organization should spend an hour or two to fix it. 

Is my duty now to spend my time navigating the organizational web to get someone's attention or grin and bear it and move back to my own priority list and my own deliverables.

To add, I am assuming her that just reporting it without any follow up, suggestions or examples essentially is choosing option 2.  In my experience an Internal Service Organization is going to be very unlikely to pick up a suggestion via email and seize on implementing it.



jhack's picture

Change what you can:  your behavior, and through feedback and coaching, the behavior of your directs.  Outperform those around you. 

Get promoted.

Then you can work on changing more, because your directs have directs, and you have more leverage.  Instill in your directs the skills of good managers, and watch the performance improve. 

Get promoted again.

Any campaigns to "improve efficiencies" of those around and above you are very likely to result in frustration, at best.  You will spend more than 18 hours trying to convince them that your new process is better.  And it might just have unexpected side effects. 

So focus on what you control (act locally) while aligning your efforts with the goals of the organization (think globally). 

John Hack

Technophile's picture

I agree with John Hack. Change what you can. I would add one more piece.

Broadcast to others what you find in the way of inefficiencies. You cannot fix them because they are not in your control. You can be generous with your knowledge which may save others time and effort, or it may land on the desk of the person who can fix it.  

douglase's picture

I agree with John as well.

I have found where I focus on working with my team to incrementally improve those things that are under our control I have had more success in actually implementing improvements.  And frequently because it helps my own teams productivity I get good will from the team, more great ideas from the team and end up with successes.  Successes lead to promotions, promotions lead to a bigger area of control with it's own challenges.

I have also found by being willing to help and support (and mentor) people in other teams who have seen my success in implementing improvements, I gain new allies who want to do the same in their team.   They then start to do the same thing.  It may not be what I thought of, but it works for them.  And they tend to be open to new suggestions.