Tag Archives: command and control

Operations and Command and Control

“If only life and business were that simplistic,” Scott said. “If you work in operations then your job is about commanding and controlling the time, labor and technical resources towards an agreed output. For the jobs in operations, your vision makes sense. But, I think it is only a functional perspective, not a universal one.”

“You seem to think that operations is all about command and control,” I replied. “It sounds a bit mechanical. Tell me more.”

“Operations is operations. Pretty cut and dried. We have defined processes inside efficient systems. Line up the people, line up the machines, line up the materials. Pop, pop, pop. Predictable output. Yes, it is a bit cut and dried.”

“If that is all there is to it, then why don’t we have robots do all our work?” I probed.

“In some cases, we do,” Scott raised his eyebrows in a subtle challenge.

“Yet, even in the midst of defined processes and efficient systems, even in the midst of robotic welding machines, we still have people engaged in operational work. And in that work, as defined as it is, aren’t there still problems that have to be solved and decisions that have to be made?”

“Well, yes,” he nodded.

“So, inside a process you describe as command and control, there is still discretionary decision making?”

Scott continued to nod.

“So, it’s not all neat and pretty,” I said. “Not all tied with a bow. In fact, some days, the work gets downright messy. Even mature processes are subject to variations in material specs, worn machine parts, delays in pace. Command and control short-changes the discretionary judgement required to effectively operate a well-defined system.”

Inspired by a comment posted to Responsibility, Accountability and Authority

Doesn’t This Look Like a Hierarchy?

From Outbound Air

“You know, this is beginning to look like a hierarchy,” Johnny said. “Do you remember Preston Pratney? If there is one thing he railed about, it’s that hierarchy is bad. It goes against all the tenants of Tribal Leadership. Having layers inside the company makes it too bureaucratic, too much red tape. If there is a decision to be made, why should someone have to check with their manager?”

Mary stepped in. “You’re talking about Preston Pratney? The problem with Preston is that he read too many books on leadership. He never understood the purpose of hierarchy. He got it confused with command and control. Hierarchy is necessary, to create this value stream for decision making and problem solving.”