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Newsletter of September 6, 2010

Radical management at the supermarket checkout counter

The case of the checkout clerk at the supermarket

One context was thrown at me by a colleague who challenged me to show how the job of a supermarket clerk could ever become innovative. As it turned out, that was an easy challenge to meet. The traditional job of a supermarket checkout clerk is simply another example of a job to which intelligence has yet to be applied. When intelligence is applied, the job becomes transformed, Do less. Get more! Find out how here.

The case of the US health care system

A very different context is the apparently insoluble problem of the U.S. health care where massively rising costs threaten to kill economic growth, curb employment and, if nothing is done, bankrupt the country. Introducing traditional management and tighter controls on expenditure will simply make things worse. To find out how radical management can solve the root causes of this apparently insoluble problem (by doing less and getting more) go here.

Firms need less innovation? Huh?

Doing less of the unimportant things is smart. Doing less of the important things is stupid. And if there is one thing we don't need less of, it's innovation. I have noted before that if HBR is the Vatican of traditional management, Bloomberg BusinessWeek has become the Vienna Boys Choir. They proved this again last week with a truly dopey article, in which Patrick Lencioni argued that firms need less innovation. To find out how this plays out in running a restaurant, or making a film, or running a surgical team, go here.

The future of customer service that sucks

James Surowiecki had a column in The New Yorker that gives a brilliant picture of how bad customer service is in traditional management. Dealing with customer service departments is, he says, harder than negotiating with Kafka's Castle. The piece however is flawed by a sense of fatalism that change is not possible: we are doomed to suffer bad service forever. It's just the way things are. The reality is quite different: it is the firms that offer bad service by practicing traditional management that are doomed. They will be put out of business by firms that practice radical management. How? One clue: these firms practicing radical management do less and get more. Learn more here.

Passion breeds simplicity

For those interested in the underlying philosophy of cultivating passion by doing less to get more, there is a fascinating zen-like post here on "the minimalist's guide to cultivating passion".

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