Ineffective business

    “Our main asset is people.” This crap is probably written on the website of each company. Only for some reason, this asset is used only ... Stop, then it doesn’t matter. Only used.

    He stands at the machine, sits at the computer, lies under the machine. Desirable - in silence. And what will happen if the mouth opens? Well, at best, nothing. If he has any idea of ​​improvements, what will happen? Well, you yourself know this old saying. Therefore, it is silent.

    At the same time, almost every enterprise has a certain mechanism for collecting these same ideas and proposals. About what it was like in Corporate Schizophrenia and Corporate Syndrome . A box of some kind, electronic or physical, equipped with a formalized procedure for receiving, processing and, of course, disposing of employee proposals.

    And you?

    Any employee, one way or another, is in the position of "do what they said and how they said." If you are not the head of the company, and think that this is not about you, conduct a test. To get started, give an idea of ​​how you can improve your own work. Perhaps your idea will be supported (entrusting you with the implementation, of course). Although, to express such an idea may seem silly - since you know how to work better, so work, there is nothing to "speak out".

    Now try to propose an improvement in the work of your colleague. And then - his boss. If you have the courage, then try to analyze and propose improvements in the work of the adjacent unit. Then - another function, such as accounting or finance. Maybe the hands of the company’s head will reach.

    At what stage do you stop? Or stop? I think, somewhere between the first and second. There are probably two legitimate questions in your head. The first - what for it to me. Second - how do I know how to improve their work?

    The answer to the first question is formed by the environment - the one described above. You don’t need all this because nobody needs all this. No one needs your ideas. No one will listen to them and, moreover, bring them to life.

    The answer to the second question is that you are disingenuous. Whether you are at least a programmer, at least a team leader, at least a system administrator, at least a leader - you know how to improve the work of any unit. There are people there, just like you. They have exactly the same problems as yours, only maybe of a different professional color. The basic atomic and universal entities on which any activity is based have not gone anywhere - tasks, regularity, projects, deadlines, processes. If you are pulled out of work, brought to some hackathon “offer improvements for such a business,” you will most likely be among the winners.

    Slaughter of ideas

    We, “below”, have the opinion that there, “above”, they do not need our ideas. The smartest people of the company, the most effective managers, with diplomas and degrees are sitting there. Sometimes it's true - as a rule, if the owner sits there, and the company is relatively small or created recently. The owner has not yet come off the routine, knows the business far and wide, keeps his hand on the pulse of the market, monitors competitors.

    As soon as, and the more he delegates, the number of ideas begins to decline rapidly. Up there, tasks and execution come to power. What happens to the tasks next - you yourself know. They go down.

    Any idea that comes there from above or below dies. More precisely, they kill her - there are a lot of proven methods. The idea of ​​the boss is easiest to launch in the infernal circle of analysis, research, probing the market, formalizing in the form of a project, etc. Even the ideas by which the owner, as they say, burns, are gradually drowning. All managers know - you just need to stretch a little longer with the analysis, and it will burn out.

    The idea that came by some miracle from below is easiest to blame for lack of professionalism and narrow-mindedness. It seems like a dude, of course, is somewhat right, but everything is not so simple there. Let's declare thanks to him, we will give a letter, and forget. The second method is to entrust execution to the initiator. Do not give, of course, a budget, do not provide assistance, insert a couple of sticks into the wheels. So that others might be discouraged.

    Like Killer

    The third method is the most effective, I call it “Like”. This is just a bomb. He came from social networks, managerial books and social aspirin like Dale Carnegie.

    Probably, they heard recommendations from the series: in relations with subordinates there should be a proportion between praise and abuse. I don’t remember the exact numbers anymore, let it be "scold 1 time, praise 4 times." So, this very praise is like. A null mark.

    Making a like is very simple - “great idea!”, “Oh, what an interesting offer!”, “Well done!”, Etc. Unfortunately, the recipient likes that his idea was approved, supported, appreciated. Unfortunately no. They just liked him, because it’s accepted, necessary, appropriate or recommended.

    In fact, like does not turn into anything and never. In one company where I worked, they bribed me with these likes - they really liked to give them away. And I loved to generate ideas. More precisely, he fell in love when he began to receive likes for them.

    At first it was enthusiastic likes. Then - routine likes. Then - tired huskies. In the end - annoyed likes. Ideas at the same time just flew into the void, like fireworks - cool, beautiful, like! And after a minute, the smoke dissipates, the shell wasted.

    Huskies are evil. It’s better to kill the idea on the spot, at least it’s honest. Likes are led through a maze blindfolded until a person himself understands that everyone does not care about his ideas. They give rise to hope, and then they kill it. There is an unpleasant aftertaste, as if you were deceived.

    Crisis of ideas

    With all this, there is a real crisis of ideas at the top, and it is aggravated by a conflict of interests.
    On the one hand, as described above, management is trying to kill all the ideas, just in case. Well, someone stepped on Danko’s heart. On the other hand, there are not enough managerial ideas. And you need to do something.

    If the business is stable and established, then, it seems, and to hell with it. It works, and okay. Until the next crisis.

    I apologize for the tautology, but the crisis of ideas is especially visible at the time of the crisis. Have you ever attended management meetings in the fall of 2008 or 2014? Or at a strategic session, a brainstorming session on how to get the company out of the crisis? Do not remember what ideas are mainly discussed there?

    The first and foremost is cost reduction. The first and main article to reduce costs is payroll. Then comes all sorts of little things, such as reducing the number of business trips, cutting budgets for development projects, selling illiquid assets for scrap metal, etc.

    Measures are offered so obvious and short-term that the student would have managed as well. On the one hand, everything seems to be right - the crisis is the same, there is no time to do process optimization. On the other hand, where were you before, before the crisis? Past the populist question - why now wind the snot on a fist? It is necessary to save the enterprise. But the most interesting is to come.

    The crisis is over, growth has started again. It seems that you need to exhale, calm down a bit and pack again. We need development ideas that will move the enterprise forward and reduce the consequences of the risks of the following crises - either they will reduce the probability or the consequences will facilitate. For example, through diversification, international markets, or the optimization of a business model.

    But, alas, there will not be a second meeting. Somehow, at the next strategic session, with a fashion moderator, a brainstorming session will already take place on the edge of the brain, a spied, accidentally heard phrase, such as “optimize business processes”, “implement project or matrix management”, “will be recorded somewhere on the flipchart” add a drop of edge "," analyze new markets ", etc.

    What ideas are being implemented?

    Well, it can’t be that everything is so bad? It can’t, I agree. Some ideas are introduced and implemented. Every industry has such a shortlist. Only these are not ideas.

    For example, a manufacturing company is building a new site. Or buys new machines. Implements an ERP system. Creates a website.

    Are these ideas? To be honest, I don’t know the answer, the line between the idea and the task generated by natural development is too thin.

    Around like in young children. Here he is still a crumb, lying as my mother laid. And then suddenly begins to crawl. Is that an idea? Then he sits down. Again, an idea? Or natural development, like everyone else?

    Brushing your teeth in the morning - what's the idea? Refuel gas in a car? Oh, and now everyone is driving an independent car wash, even premium SUVs - maybe I should try it too? Great idea?

    Ideas are good, but do not create a competitive advantage. Although, sensible people say that in Russia for success it is enough just to produce a normal product. I would argue, of course, but it sounds convincing. Perhaps that’s why “everything is like everyone else”. It is difficult to find an enterprise that would be strikingly different from others within its industry. There are some minor differences, like a repair in the toilet, but otherwise - like a carbon copy.


    But, at the same time, there is one strange phenomenon - leveling the effect of ideas. You look at two plants, as they say, from a bird's eye view - for example, discussing the upcoming automation and considering a map of processes - and it seems that there is nothing new here. Then you look closely, and you understand that you are wrong.

    Purchases can be perfectly made at one factory. Another has modern, automated, high-tech sales. The third one offers such programs of increasing loyalty that employees are ready to tear their teeth for their own factory or owner. In the fourth, a unique motivation system that maximally takes into account both personal and team flags. The fifth plant is so successfully scaled or captures the market that you wonder.

    And then you return to bird's-eye view, and you see that the results of all plants are approximately equal. Why then does competitive advantage fail? Because it is leveled by problems in other parts of the business system.

    There is, for example, a software company that has developed its own unique framework. She can create web applications for business many times faster than competitors. But at the same time, she has such a moronic sales and marketing system that no one wants to work with this company. Only a few get to the implementation, and sincerely wonder - can the tasks be solved so easily and quickly?

    Or there is a factory that has amazing sales, thanks to a well-established system of personal contacts. Customers are ready to clean everything up, and even at prices higher than competitors. It would seem - ship and rejoice. But no. The factory has such a moronic supply that it can only satisfy 10 percent of existing demand.

    I saw a plant that found several unique solutions for itself. Firstly, the niche is perfectly chosen - there are no competitors for a thousand kilometers around. Secondly, production is awesomely organized, only new imported equipment, cool specialists and excellent product quality. But all the time it stalls due to the fact that it does not know how to manage costs, it often works in the red and all the time goes in debt. Elementary theft can not win (produces TNP), at all levels.

    All the advantages are offset by disadvantages. There is no such thing that everything is good. They established one thing, they were astonished by themselves, and sat down to rest on their laurels. And in order to fix the flaws, you need ideas that are not there.

    Employee Ideas

    So, I affirm that the employees are full of good ideas, but the company does not know anything about them. Why doesn’t he know? He said above. Doesn't want to know. And where can employees get ideas from?

    The first and main source is previous jobs. Do you have a poor supply? Among your employees there are those who worked in a factory with good supply. Do you have a low time to market? Among the employees there are those who saw how products and releases can fly out like hot, delicious cakes. Problems with testing? Ask around, there are probably guys who can tell how efficiently this process is organized.

    Moreover, there is no need to put a restriction like "only testers can know about testing." An observational coder who saw testing from the outside as an input and output will give even more useful information because he used the testing as a service and sees it as a consumer. Testers might not even realize that they work very well, because they are not coders, they just do what they were told and how they were told.

    The second source, more relevant for our industry - read somewhere. You all read a lot, not only all sorts of crap to neighing, but also useful articles. Including - foreign authors. You yourself know how this happens - even a worthless article, like this one, may contain a grain of useful information that you can use.

    And how many among your employees are those who were engaged in their own business? Let it be small, let it fall apart, but were there successes? There were contacts with other enterprises, possibly at the highest level, that same bird's-eye view of business partners.

    And, of course, education, in all its forms, is a great academic, even postgraduate study, trainings, courses. A company from this entity uses only what it knows what it takes to fulfill its current responsibilities. Everything else does not even ask, because believes that there is nothing there.

    Joining forces

    And so the company decided to ask employees for ideas. Suppose, somehow it turned out to stretch these thoughts - they created a suitable atmosphere, or a process, or an automated system. Next, two managerial dampers begin to work, killing these ideas. Though, intentions may be good.

    The first is "give a comprehensive offer." That is, do not just tell the user's story how you used the cool supply services, but give out all the aspects. How the process was organized inside, how cross-functional communications worked, how the automated system worked, what are the features of the management system, what was the motivation of the employees.

    Alas, the employee does not know most of these details. But he can find out - either by himself or with the help of other people. Visits of companies to each other are not rare now in order to share experience, if there is no direct competition. For example, at one factory I was engaged in a lot of supply automation. While the head of this department was sitting inside, it seemed to him that it should be so. And when he left, he always asked to share his experience, because he, in general, did not remember a damn thing, and could not formulate what was good there. Moreover, he could not answer the questions of his IT department, write TK, "give a comprehensive proposal." All that could answer - let's go and see. Or "let's call their programmers, ask them to tell."

    The second damper is “tell me how to implement this.” Organize a project, calculate a budget, assemble a team, adapt the practice to our realities. Implement, in short.

    Naturally, he will not be able to organize anything, especially if he is not a leader. He will not even try, and the idea will disappear, and the manager will say - well, well, I did everything I could.

    Alas, not all. I suggest joining forces. From an employee an idea, from a manager - implementation. It's about introducing changes, and this is the direct responsibility of the manager.

    Naturally, do not rush to travel to all the enterprises where your employees once worked. Initial selection of ideas, preliminary analysis and ranking are not canceled. The main thing is that they do not turn into another damper, extinguishing the momentum of development.


    Let's just count. Suppose a company employs 200 people. Of these, 1 is the owner, 1 is the director. These two now give the most ideas for business development, because they are directly interested in success.

    There are still 10 top managers - deputy directors, or whatever they are called there. They also give ideas, because they are forced by the owner and director. They do it reluctantly, try to give out something simpler, because immediately think about the risks to themselves.

    And there are 188 people who do not express any ideas. The maximum is the ideas of the first level, "how to improve my work." The same people, with arms, legs, and a head, have seen no less than those 12. They have read no less than books and articles, watched the same films and programs about advanced enterprises, with which one famous federal channel now likes to treat us.

    If you think that the workers and the cleaner have no ideas, divide 188 in half, there will be 94. These are economists, financiers, personnel personnel, sellers, procurement, designers, technologists, accountants, programmers, system administrators, engineers, middle managers, etc. People of mental labor, in short.

    Further it is clear. The company uses the ideas of 12 people - this is 11% of the total number of employees capable of giving sensible offers. If we add the remaining employees - and I recommend doing this - then 6% remains. Moreover, the quality of the ideas of these 12 people is knowingly reduced by them. Well, except for the owner and director.

    Ideas have the same funnel as in sales, marketing or RnD. A thousand ideas come in, ten comes to implementation, i.e. 1%. 12 people will give twenty ideas, zero will come to implementation. 200 people will give two thousand ideas, and twenty will be realized.

    The quantity and quality of ideas will grow iteratively, improving the “passability” of the funnel. I’ll talk about this next time.

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