Wednesday, August 10, 2011

We Don't Evolve in Business

This morning, as on many mornings, on my bike ride, I saw a rabbit with a white tail which flashes conspicuously against the green grass and brown bushes. I remember learning about evolution in school with one of the examples being the moths in London (or someplace in England) that changed their shade of color over the generations so that they would blend in with their sooty surroundings. This thought led me to wondering why rabbits haven't gotten rid of their white tails, and why deer in North America haven't lost theirs. Predators must love tracking those little splotches of white against a dark, natural background.

Though we're not dealing with blind, non-reasoning genetics, businesses too haven't evolved much. We still rely on practices that have been around since before the Industrial Age:

  • physical inventories, 
  • budgets to control spending, 
  • work shifts, 
  • 100% inspection (even automated inspection), 
  • reliance on hiring interviews, 
  • purchasing limits and
  • performance appraisals.
They were created for a purpose, and because we had nothing better at the time. However, the purpose is no longer valid, other techniques are available and, in some cases, additional aims have been piled on to these techniques so that the original purpose is diluted and ineffective. These practices are tradition, however. They are sacred cows, not easily butchered for the meat we need. If we really want to evolve beyond our traditions and habits, let's apply some thinking to what we can do instead to be more effective and successful in our businesses.

If you're still wasting resources on the efforts in the list, then you might have a competitor on your white bushy tail ready to eat you for lunch.

No comments:

Post a Comment