In the previous post, the oversized headquarters as one of the biggest organizational wastes was addressed. Oversized corporate departments are a black hole attracting valuable resources, scarce cash-flow and lots of energy.
I’d like to urge you again to consult your local managers and local HR. They can point to the waste in the organization in fine detail. But as I said, these good people are kept away from you by your army. Discuss the four topics in these posts directly with your local management. If they experience (one of) these, you know where to improve your organizational efficiency.
In this post I’ll address the second topic – corporate visits. You know you have considerable waste in your organization when:
local management has to spend more than 10% of their time entertaining corporate visitors, internal auditors and higher level managers.
Some might say, come on, isn’t that part of their job? Corporate people can’t do a good job without having valuable input from local management. Meetings on budgets and results are better done face to face, right? And corporate departments need to show their faces locally, to keep at least a little bit of credit.
True. I’m not advocating a complete stop to corporate visits. But keep them to a minimum. Check what kind of corporate visits local management needs to entertain, and what they have to do for these visits.
Because in the real world, the corporate army designs an interesting set of requirements for visits, leading to a lot of inefficiencies. Examples I have seen:
- 100+ slides presentations have to be prepared three weeks prior to the visit
- Many (more than twenty) people will work for hours, if not days, to give input for this presentation
- Then the presentation goes through an approval cycle, so several people can adjust and sign off (meaning, the corporate army filters the information flowing to the top or to other corporate departments)
- The personal hobby horses of the visitor need to be addressed, meaning work will be reprioritized to humor this specific visitor
- Most people want to impress corporate visitors, so whole departments will stop doing their normal work during a visit
- The organization needs a few days, sometimes weeks, to recover from such a visit. Especially if the corporate visitor blurts out uninformed untrue things about the local organization, or is unfairly critical, or overdemanding. The upset this creates, causes local managers to have to do repair work for weeks. This really happens much more often than people think!
Check with local management how much time they have to spent on corporate visits, and what they do to prepare (required by the visitor as well as on their own initiative). Reduce the visits as well as the requirements for preparation to a minimum.
For other savings, keep your eyes peeled for the next two posts!