In 1987 when Japan’s hot breath was being felt on the back of the neck of U.S. automakers, President Ronald Reagan signed into law the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. Its intent was to inspire U.S. organizations to do what Japanese companies had been doing since the Japanese Union of Scientists and Engineers founded the Deming Prize in 1950.  The Deming Prize had inspired Japanese companies to test themselves against a rigorous set of best-practice management standards.

I’ll skip the detailed history lesson and cut to the chase.

“We have a problem Houston!” The problem is that most U.S. organizations suffer from the 7 Deadly Sins of Management, which I elaborate on in detail in Business at the Speed of Now (pages 28-38). The 7 Deadly Sins of Management are:

  1. Lack of clear direction
  2. No line of sight
  3. Unclear accountability
  4. Inconsistent language
  5. Poor issue transparency
  6. Insufficient resources
  7. Inadequate tools/skills

Leadership is about vision, setting tone, inspiring people and working from a deeply held set of values. If you want to read the best blogger I know on leadership read Dan Rockwell’s Leadership Freak.

But the work of management is to prioritize and organize work, set up measures, connect people, eliminate fear, communicate progress, and make sure the right resources are in the right place at the right time.  I am sorry to say the work of management is tedious and detailed work. And because of that a lot of us are guilty of not wanting to do that work. Heh, life is short and who wants to spend it working in the weeds.

However, by avoiding the detailed work of management, the 7 Deadly Sins of Management propagate in our organizations. But the 7 Deadly Sins of Management come at a heavy price because it causes our people  to disengage.

There are several reasons our people can’t engage.  They can’t engage because they don’t understand where the business is going. They can’t engage because they don’t see their part. They can’t engage because they don’t know what they are accountable for and they don’t understand the language of the business. To top it off  our employees suffer from the fear of making problems visible, inadequate resources and tools, and weak training.

It’s a wonder our people even show up to work at all!

Of course I am being dramatic. But what I am saying here is more commonly true than not. Our people don’t engage and can’t engage because management is not doing its complete job.

Management’s job in this Mass Customization world is to enable people to act on every opportunity every time in order to meet customer needs. For that to be possible, we have to eliminate the sins that prevent our people from being engaged.

Let’s sin no more.

Since you are reading this you are probably a leader or manager and you take that responsibility seriously. So I believe you will care about the impact that management waste has on our planet.

Our global economy grows when more and more people consume more and more goods. So with the markets of China and India opening up it’s hard not to be optimistic. But can our planet support this kind of consumption?

The opening talk for TED 2012 challenges us to believe that our consuming ways are not sustainable — sustainable from the Earth’s perspective.

It’s a must watch for every leader.

The opening talk for Ted 2012 by Paul Gilding

When we think of planet preservation we think of the air, the water and the land. But we don’t think about the many common forms of waste that occur in our workplaces — and this waste not only costs our business, it wastes the Earth’s resources. Management causes waste through its outdated practices:

  1. Broken processes
  2. Self-serving bosses
  3. Stupid policies
  4. Ridiculous decision-making practices
  5. Unengaging workplaces

These forms of waste results in excessive electricity, paper, time, materials, and human energy. All of this waste negatively impacts our costs, our customers’ experience, our revenue growth, and our planet.

When I wrote Business at the Speed of Now, I had not really considered the impact of organizational waste on the planet. But it IS relevant. Waste is waste.

As leaders we have to do everything we can to eliminate every form of waste.

This article was posted by John Moore a few days ago. It is an important article in the series on Social Ecosystem and all of us at Periscope are excited to see this conversation evolve. Take a look and let us know what you think. Join the discussion!

via John Moore’s weblog: As you may recall, in part one of defining the Social Organization we discussed a few reasons why we need a new view of the world.  We also took time to define The Social Organization in very simple terms:

The Social Organization will use standard approaches that make it easy for customers/citizens to find and buy products and services while enabling the organization to meet their goals.

This easy to understand definition enables us to begin to define the attributes of the Social Organization:

  • Social Organizations use standard approaches.  They follow a well-defined framework for successfully achieving their goals. We will define this framework as we go, but understand that 75-80% of the framework applies across all types of organizations in The Social Ecosystem.  The remaining percentage takes into account the uniqueness of your organization.
  • Social Organizations focus on delivering value in an equitable way.  We do not live in a utopian world, we live in a world where services are delivered in a way where, ideally, customers feel they have received value while allowing organizations to meet their goals (for businesses, making money).  For example:
    • When a customer buys an iPhone they are not focused on the amount of profit made by Apple, they are only concerned with the value received for their money.  If they feel they received the value expected they are happy.  If Apple, as the Social Organization in this example, is able to meet its goals as well, both sides have “won”, equity is achieved.


John  Moore’s recent article (The Social Ecosystem) is of great interest to all of us at The Periscope Group. Is a concept such as a “social ecosystem”  ready for prime time? In our opinion the answer is yes. Here’s an excerpt from John’s article:

“Organizations of all types have struggled to come to grips with terms like Government 2.0, Social Business, Social Media, and a long list of others that are floating around book stores, universities, and blogs.

I have spent a lot of time speaking with businesses and government agencies, exploring what is working, what is failing, and seeking to understand where confusion and hype are preventing these organizations from achieving full value from their efforts. The Social Ecosystem is the result of these efforts and is meant to reduce confusion and offer guidance for organizations across the world.

Lofty goals? Perhaps, but the Social Ecosystem is not being defined in a vacuum, it will fully leverage many ideas that are already available and will evolve, as needed, as we continue to learn more.

For this post I will discuss, at a high level, the major components of the Social Ecosystem as well as some key definitions. Over time I plan to create a table of contents, a section for terms, and break this down into a book-like format. Please be patient as it will take time and we’ll all work through this together.”  Read More

John, thank you for getting the conversation rolling. We very much like the “social ecosystem” concept and the 3 key components. Over the last 2 years we’ve talked to a lot of leaders in private and public sectors. To a person they have asked for clarification and some sort of threaded language to wrap their heads (and strategies and budgets) around. Trying to explain things in an unthreaded system was and continues to be very difficult. It steals cycles that need to be focused on development. A “social ecosystem” would have made a huge difference in achieving clarity of purpose, alignment of strategies and ultimately allocation of resources. We’re looking forward to the evolution of these conversations and the “social ecosystem.” We will bring several people who are building a “system of management” into this conversation as well. Ultimately, that system and this ecosystem will be closely tied together.

via The Social Ecosystem

Beware the shiny object. The appeal of the bright new toy is impossible to resist.

Managers have longed searched for that one thing they need to do that will engage their people, transforming the business and creating the ultimate sustainable competitive advantage. We’ve all read the endless stream of books and through them dreamed of a better way. Who hasn’t tried process improvement, scorecards, lean, six sigma, teamwork, personality styles testing, change management and, of course, the power of the new twist on leadership? Well executed, all of these ideas contribute to better performance. With the plethora of information available, our successes in the world of management and leadership should be clear. Right? (more…)

When you are the one responsible for bringing in the revenue for your company you’re always thinking outside of the box and trying to find new and efficient ways to exceed your goals!  Always thinking, Always exploring.  We do this in order to get the job done & Win!

Aaron Howard’s recent posting “DRAW WITHIN THE LINES OR ELSE” got me thinking.  Why in the world would an organization stifle the very creativity that might just be the key to growing revenue or saving costs? The answer may very well be that the CEO and or the management team have lost touch with the troupes on the line.   Or it might be that the employee is not creative enough. (more…)

What is the most difficult part of giving constructive feedback?  Delivering it so that the recipient actually hears, understands and acts on the feedback.

There are three key techniques to enable someone to hear and act on your feedback: (more…)

Over the years, Henry Ford’s mass production system of management and its underlying logic has permeated organizational life from factories to banks to grocery stores and even our educational system. Today few of us realize that the underlying logic of the organizations we work in or run as leaders is in fact based on the model of management Ford invented over a century ago. (more…)

Life is a precious thing, and to waste it by working in a job that lacks purpose and meaning is about as disengaging as its gets. It is human nature to want to be part of something greater than ourselves. Most organizations fail to connect each employee with the purpose they serve in the bigger organization, and that failure results in disengagement. Yet, every employee is a part of some greater processes; through that process they create value essential to work that matters to the organization. (more…)