Monday, January 14, 2013

Thinking Outside The Square

In Australia, they say Thinking Outside the Square, rather than Thinking Outside the Box.   This CEO Blogger really likes both sayings; because to survive in business today, we really need people that are not business as usual people.   The easiest answer to every issue, or challenge is always hire more people, rather than finding more creative ways to get work done, or eliminate unnecessary work altogether.   Of course, the rubber always hits the road at budget time.  Since companies, unlike governments can't print money and borrowing to fund growth is costly, adding people requires a corresponding increase in revenues.   If the additional revenues are not there, obviously adding more employees is not an option.  

People in companies must be prepared to Think Outside the Square and often wear multiple hats.   This always happens when companies are small; but as companies grow, all of a sudden, the thought of doing more than one job function becomes unthinkable for many people.   This CEO Blogger has little patience when I see, or hear this attitude from anyone. 

In addition, there is usually a proliferation of Managers over time, often way too many in any company.   Generally, Managers are more highly compensated than line employees and as such if there are too many in relationship to the number of line employees, the cost factor becomes unsustainable, which usually leads to lay off's.  

Self perpetuating bureaucracy is the enemy of creativity.   Many managers are empire builders always seeking to expand their domain, rather than identify how to get more meaningful work done with fewer people.   The real issue is the definition of meaningful work to the organization.   Very often tasks deemed absolutely essential are just nice to have and can even be busy work to justify headcount.   Eventually, it all falls by the wayside at budget time because jobs that are not really essential go away. 

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