That Sounds More Organized

“Why are we having this discussion in the first place?” I asked. “What do you see, as a manager, that is creating a problem?”

Arianne was puzzled. She knew the answer, but didn’t know the words to express it. “There are all kinds of issues. I guess it’s just getting organized. Our company has grown, things are more complicated, now. It used to be, everybody did a little bit of everything, and somehow, all the work got done. Now we have more customers, way more customers, and the volume, we now do, in one day, what we used to do in a month. We started out with eight people, now we have eighty-five.”

“When you think back to when your company was small, and then you added more people, what was the biggest change that you noticed?” I pressed.

“I remember, clearly, everybody was doing a little bit of everything, and then we had to divide up the work. Some people would work on one part, others would work on another part, and someone else was assigned to find new customers,” Arianne explained.

“Well, that sounds more organized,” I observed.

“Are you kidding. That was the beginning of the first set of problems. We ended up with two people doing the same thing, duplicating work. And other work that no one was doing, gaps all over. I felt like Hans Brinker, plugging the dike with my thumb. But there were too many gaps. Too many customers, too many orders. It was a mess.”

“What did you do?”

“Somehow, we got it sorted out. We drew a big flowchart on the wall, with boxes for each of the major steps. It became easier to see the holes in the dike, and where work was duplicated. We made checklists, created push schedules. It was a lot of work, a lot of effort, a bunch of overtime, but at least we got all the work out the door.” Arianne took a breath.

“Well, that sounds more organized,” I repeated.

“Are you kidding,” Arianne sat forward. “That was when we almost went broke.”

2 thoughts on “That Sounds More Organized

  1. The Problem Manager

    Expanding a business through organic growth is great, however if the manager is inexperienced this will ideally be at a slow pace. If the growth is too rapid it means the manager needs to by dynamic, creating ever more complex processes to cope.
    Interesting post.

    The Problem Manager

  2. Birendra

    Sounds Interesting…
    Another important aspect of in-organic or organic growth is to balance the pace of growth in-order to control the intrinsic culture within the organization. Organization’s culture may be taken at ransom if if rampant growth is achieved through acquisition or rampant hiring … Every one tries to bring in their own best practices which ultimately may become no best practices šŸ™‚


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