Improve by doing less

Most of us are driven to constantly improve.  We must learn to improve more often by doing less not more.

20th Century management culture focuses this improvement urge on optimisation and control. Its centralised isolated model requires ever-increasing amounts of data, documentation, and bureaucracy to do this. The theorists feed this with models such as CMM, Six Sigma, and ToC. The resulting systems are rigid, sclerotic, and expensive to change.

No matter how it is run, any organisation at all tends to add things over time to make work “better”, layering instead of simplifying.

It becomes “the way we do things around here”. Individuals must wonder “do we really need all this crap?”, but organisations collectively almost never do.

It is a shame, because the rare organisations that do reconsider invariably turn themselves into something better.

The need becomes increasingly urgent in the 21st Century, when adaptability is more important than efficiency. The ones who survive and thrive will be the ones who can flex and writhe: the lean, agile, distributed, loosely-held organisations.