Archives for posts with tag: organisation

I’m about half-way through Orbiting the Giant Hairball – A Corporate Fool’s Guide to Surviving with Grace by Gordan MacKenzie. So far an excellent and comforting read.  

I came upon the following paragraph which resonated with me and my experiences in the corporate world and considered it worth sharing:

Unfortunately, while the heart of [of the company] sings the virtues of creativity, the company’s intellect worships the predictability of the status quo and is, thus, adverse to new ideas. This incongruity creates a common corporate personality disorder: The organization officially lauds the generation of new ideas while covertly subverting the implementation of those same ideas.  [I]deas, by nature of their newness, are deemed fundamentally unseemly by the same authority conglomerate that asked for them in the first place. This makes for a lot of frustrated ideamongers.


I’m a consumer of new ideas. I read Fast Company, Fortune, Seth Godin’s Blog, Mashable, and listen to NPR among other sources. I thoroughly enjoy hearing about what’s new and exciting in the world of technology, web and business. Who’s innovating and what’s emerging.

Then, somewhat anti-climatically (dare I say disappointingly), I go to work each day and it seems like I enter the world of yesteryear.  My company isn’t being powered by green energy,  the teams I’m working aren’t collaborating on world changing innovative ideas, and nothing we launch is going viral anywhere. 

So how can I reconcile these two worlds?

For me, I’m thinking of taking a “virtual” trip to the ideas archives. Instead of only reading about current events and innovation, look back and try to line up where my company is on the innovation timeline.

For example, let’s consider social networking\collaboration. In the media we hear about Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare, Digg, Facebook, etc. Many organizations have tried to replicate  these platforms internally to various levels of success. If we step back and reality check my organization with this trend, we might start with something as simple as  instant messaging.  Anything more will violate the time-space continuum and have limited success.  From there, who knows? Maybe touch-tone phones.

The point is…the flood of media stories about progressive companies sometimes push our organizations to grow up faster than we are ready for.

I’m a BIG fan of efficiency…especially when I’m on the receiving end as a customer.  Few things are more beautiful than being witness to a well orchestrated process flow from one person to another with little (or no) waste of time or material and ending with a satisfied customer – and few are more frustrating when the opposite occurs.

This story begins at the neighborhood Q Lab (names have been changed to protect the innocent) where I went this Saturday for non-routine bloodwork. Disclaimer: I did not have an appointment, it was a Saturday, and it was sunny. I arrived when the doors opened at 8:00 a.m. and the place was already crowded. I put my name on the list and there were 5 people ahead of me with 8:00 a.m. appointments. I was prepared to wait.

To my surprise, I was called in around 8:20 a.m. It was while I was sitting in Cube 1 waiting to have my blood drawn that I got my paradigmhackles raised. My assigned phlebotomist (another word for dracula) left the cube 7 times in the 10 minutes I was in there. She would look through the drawers in her supply chest (there were only 2) then go murmuring out of the cube. Here are my thoughts on this:

  • If you have routine tasks to do all the materials you need should be within reach
  • Materials that you use less often but still require should be within a few feet, but still in your work area
  • You should check your supplies often enough to be sure you won’t run out during a busy period when it’s harder to resupply
  • Keep your supplies organized so that you can find what you need when you need it. Use labeled folders, storage trays, dividers
  • Throw it away when you are done with it. The work area I was in had a cork bulletin board with multiple layers of notices – all hidden except the top layer. I have no idea what value that brings.

Share any other efficiency tips you may have in the comments area. I’d love to hear them.