Thursday, August 7, 2014

Reprise: What is Big Company Disease and how do we get it?

By Pascal Dennis

Big Company Disease (BCD) is the antagonist in The Remedy, and the toughest opponent Tom Papas and Andy Saito have ever faced.

BCD infects companies once they reach a certain size. In a small business, you typically can see your customer and supplier.

You get to understand them and appreciate that your success depends on them. It keeps you humble and hungry to improve.

In other words, in small companies it’s much easier to develop & sustain direct, binary, self-diagnostic connections between suppliers & customers (both internal & external).

My favorite example of these is my Dad at the Imperial Grill, looking into each plate as it came back.


Did the customer eat everything?

If not, why not? He’d usually ask them directly. “Hey Mabel, why didn’t you finish your moussaka?”

Once a company grows to multiple sites, perhaps in different countries, and multiple divisions – customers and suppliers lose touch.

You can't wrap your mind or your arms around the organization. Out of site is out of mind. So you optimize what you can see -- your zone.

With the best of intentions, we optimize our unit -- often at the expense of overall effectiveness.

Not all big companies have BCG -- but all are prone to it.

We have to work hard to dispel the anaesthetizing fog, connect with our customers, make our purpose and our problems visible.

Lean Thinking & Lean Tools are geared to do this.

Then we have to continually work on our connections, and on involving everybody in improvement. It wakes us up.

Next time, more on The Fog…

Best,

Pascal


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