John Bernard, Business at the Speed of Now, Podcast Episode 4: Management Waste
JB: Hi Tom how are you?
TM: Doing great. In our last session you shared some insights on how we as leaders can begin to recognize how to make the shift from some of the older more outdated management styles and practices to what you call Now Management.
So for today’s topic, John, let’s start with your viewpoint on whether or not how we manage can have an impact outside the walls of our organizations.
JB: Well Tom in the post that I did on this topic I mentioned Paul Gelding and his Ted talk in March of 2012. It blew me away. I think it’s worth watching. When we put what we do, in our work as managers, in the greater context of waste and we look at wasting people’s time and wasting resources, there’s not only a cost to our business but there’s a greater cost to society. When you watch the clip it’s pretty compelling. We’ve got a lot of work to do to get the waste out of our organizations and there’s a good reason to.
TM: I must admit I’ve been a part of organizations for a while now and I don’t think too much about the external waste of it. I mean we’ve had recycling programs and some other things. Can you begin to talk about what are some of the tangible things that, as managers and employees of organizations, we should be thinking about as it relates to waste?
JB: In this particular one I’m not really talking about the process waste we see. I am on one level. But even that process waste is really a waste of resources, it’s a waste of the world’s resources, it’s a waste of the planet’s resources. That’s why I found his sustainability message just so powerful. Even as managers, if I waste your time we’re actually wasting the electricity and the heat and everything that’s going on around us. So “waste” has a bigger context.
TM: What would you put your finger on as some of the more common types of waste?
JB: Well I think that the biggest waste that “Business At The Speed Of Now” focuses on is the waste of human talent. By being disorganized, not having ourselves focused, and not having everyone connected, people waste the very god-given talents we have to contribute, to innovate, to make our businesses great and strong.
TM: IN your post you talk a bit about policies that might not be that well lined or certain management styles of actual mangers in organizations. Can you talk a bit about what you see as wasteful with that?
JB: Well sure. I think there are a lot of things that are wasteful. I talk about five common forms of management waste, like the typical one that we were talking about earlier – broken processes. Even self serving bosses, people who say “it’s all about me, it’s all about my career”, they’re not looking at the greater context of the work that they do and its impact on the world.
A great example, even a stupid boss who doesn’t allow the employees to use social media. While they carry smart devices with them in to work you cannot prevent them from using social media. Quit fooling yourselves. If work is so uninteresting that Facebook is the best thing you have to do in your work day, there’s another problem.
TM: That’s right. Well in your book I know you address some of the things we as managers can do to eliminate ways to minimize it to the best possible extent. Can you share some of the concepts of the Now Management system and how that might help be a solution to what we’ve been talking about?
JB: We talk a lot in the book about fundamentals. Fundamentals are the routine work that we do every day at work. What’s essential is that is where most of the waste is. We’re enamored by strategic plans and all kinds of fun and happy things but the reality is it’s the work we all do routinely. When I do that work I know it best, I’m the one who can improve it, I’m the one who know where the waste is, where the things that don’t work are, the miscues, the handoffs.
So, as managers, the best thing we can do is to make sure the employees know where the organization is going and that they have the full authority to solve problems that are within the work that they do.
TM: You’ve been working with clients and at speaking engagements; is there one that you would pick as sort of the first one to start with? If I’m off managing an organization, where’s the best place for me to start and start seeing some of the gains and successes in this area?
JB: Well I think people need to know what they’re accountable for. Accountable, the root word is “count”. We have to have something that they’re measured on. That creates the first piece of context for most employees. Sure we hear mission vision, that’s all great stuff. But eventually I need to know “what’s my part in this thing? What are you counting on me to get done?” and then that creates the context to learn how to solve problems. If you’re counting on me then I need to have the ownership, the authority, the information I need to take action on that thing you’re counting on me to do.
TM: Thank you John. Thanks for mentioning the blog post a little bit earlier. I want to invite everybody to head on out to www.massingenuity.com/blog you can catch up on his latest articles there, and also on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/NOWInside.
His Inc Magazine top five bestselling book “Business At The Speed Of Now” is also available and can be found on Amazon.com
Look for our next podcast where we’ll continue pursuing how you and leaders can thrive in the now. Thanks for listening and I hope you can join us next time.