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Your eye of the needle: Do you worry over bottlenecks?

Here’s your question to ponder…

Think for a minute whether there is any process or person that could be classed as the eye of the needle in your organization.  Is there anything, process or person, that stalls the flow of work from start to finish?

A CEO once told me that she was the eye of the needle in her organization, purposely controlling quality of service and making sure all of her direct reports let her know of each decision and action they undertook.  Her intentions were pure and admirable. She wanted only the highest quality for her organizational reputation.

The unintentional effect

But the unintentional effect was that she inserted herself into every process as the bottleneck that actually defeated her goal of making her organization a model of efficiency and quality.  Such behavior removes individual employee incentive to innovate and lessens the chance that her direct reports will grow through learning to manage and in turn delegate effectively.

The lesson learned

[Email readers, continue here…]   Sure, you should worry over quality and speed of service.  And sure, you should worry over bottlenecks that reduce the speed of completion of the total task.  But the worst way to do that is to micromanage, to become the bottleneck in the process, to discourage individual creative thinking by others.

It is a fine line for young or first time CEOs to walk.   Removing bottlenecks is one of the more important tasks for a senior manager.  But never should that happen at the expense of creating just such a bottleneck in the process by being one.

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