This is the first of a series of blog posts, where SiriusDecisions analyst John Donlon explains some of the not-so-obvious gotchas that hold back real process improvement, what you can do to avoid them, and how to emerge as a process hero. The topic of this article is the Fallacy of the Efficient Middleman.
In this, the first of a series of blog posts on the topic, I’ll clue you into some of the not-so-obvious gotchas that hold back real process improvement, what you can do to avoid them, and how to emerge as a process hero. Today’s lesson: The Fallacy of the Efficient Middleman.
The Situation: “Don’t tell me I’m not efficient – I’m constantly thinking about how I can streamline my team’s activities.”
Ah, the false sense of satisfaction. I once knew a marketing operations leader who had simplified her company’s list-pull process so well that she cut in half the time it took to do the pulls and had made it so easy that anyone on her team could perform them. “We are ROCKING IT in that area of service!” she thought.
What didn’t occur to her was that, thanks to her improvements, the demand managers she serviced could just as easily have done the list pulls themselves. As it turns out (I’ll spare you the math), that’s a much more efficient solution for the whole system.
Here are some hero moves you can use to sidestep that sort of trap:
Finally, put aside any fears that you’ll be optimizing yourself out of a job. In my experience, the people who point out – and execute – ways the company can save money are the ones the company wants to keep around. Be a process hero, and don’t make any apologies for it.
So there you have it – don’t shy away from your streamlining instincts; just be sure you’re taking the larger view so that you don’t settle for Efficient Middleman status.
Up Next: “It’s not my job to fix it…”