Read Next

When I Die

Many years ago I decided that when I died I would become cryogenically frozen when I died.

Of course, that decision carried no weight - the procedure costs more than one hundred thousand dollars, money which I didn't have to set aside.

A couple months ago I walked into Style's living room. Mystery was there.

When to Ask Why

On A Driver Minded Guy Living in a Passenger Minded World

In school, I would have pulled a stunt like this. Actually, one time in college, I had to write four or five papers in one class. I liked the professor, but I was certain he did not read any of the papers required. Ok, maybe he read the first two and last two pages, but no more than that. I had traditionally done very well on papers in his class, making an A every time, maybe a couple of points off for a poor reference or such. For my last paper, I thought I would be a little daring and attempt to prove my point. So, about halfway through the paper, mid paragraph, I inserted the following line: “And I know you’re not reading any of this,” before continuing the paragraph as normal. I just knew I had done it.

The point to my story is, sometimes in a job, a project, or a proposal, I still find myself thinking, “Why am I doing this? They’re not even going to read it.” Or sometimes, the statement might be said by a leader: “I know this is stupid, but we have to ask that you _____.” This has always baffled me. In essence, you acknowledge the stupidity of what your requesting someone to do, but still demand it? Why?

Companies who enjoy the tediousness of their processes often do not enjoy great margins. One company I consulted not too long ago explained their process of approval for a specific area. They drew flow charts and showed me all of the pretty forms they had made that went into this massive binder with a pretty little cover sheet. So after sitting through that meeting which lasted about 35 minutes (35 minutes of my life I’ll never get back), they asked me what I thought. My reply? “What are we talking about again?”

No, seriously, I went up to their great little flow chart and began simply asking “Why?” For instance, why do three people have to sign this form authorizing an expense? Answer: “To be sure it’s really needed.” Question: “Are these managers who have to sign it?” Answer: “Yes, three managers up the chain have to sign it. Do you think we could make it easier?” Answer from me: “Yes, fire the one who’s stupid or inept.”

Ok, I know that was pretty harsh but think about it for a minute: You have three people signing off on something that at least two people should be able to do. Why the 3rd? Granted, there are some instances where, depending on an expense amount or credit amount that there needs to be some extra checks and balances, but in this case, it was for something fairly nominal. This sneak peek into the business model showed me a larger problem. Why was I there? To help accelerate the sales process. What was the problem? This company loved to make X very hard to find!

Rendering New Theme...