- Leandro Herrero - https://leandroherrero.com -

A bit of inefficiency is very efficient

Cost cutting, cutting to the bone, cutting resources down to the bare minimum is praised as efficient. But it’s not. Once all the resources have been reduced to a minimum, a series of unintended consequences are seen. People who used to interface with 5 others, now have to do so with 15. Personal touch or intervention becomes mechanical. A sense of exploitation decreases employee engagement. Corporate memory disappears. Knowledge transfer is impossible. I can list 20 or more negative consequences.

The problem is that having been crafted under the banner of ‘efficiency’, it becomes politically incorrect to challenge it.

Overlapping jobs, shadow roles, some slack, even some reasonable duplication, may in reality be very efficient. It provides the cushion needed for knowledge transfer, organizational learning, contingencies, rapid reaction to customers and, above all, a fluid human fabric that can be employed in a flexible way.

The ‘centralisation’ of services ‘at any cost’,  the avoidance of duplications even small, the resourcing with no slack of any kind, is a fundamentalist view of the organization that only people who have never run organizations (and you can find lots of them in Big Consulting Groups) can recommend. It’s a nonsense mantra that only pleases people who mistake the company for a spreadsheet.

The cost savings can result in a very poor ROI. A very, very, very efficient company with no slack, would not have my money.