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Is Your Organization Energy Efficient?
by Bettina Ann Grahek


I recently had the opportunity to engage my attention in a few policies and procedures established by someone other than myself. It quickly became clear that "control" was the motive behind the policies and procedures rather than "efficiency." Imagine that. And the runaround and paper chase caused by the "control" issue was an enormous waste of time and headache for everyone.

Worse yet, once the paperwork resulting from the p&p landed in the office of the "controller," the "important paperwork" landed in piles of other "important" papers, behind file cabinets on the floor, and in general amidst the dust and debris of a "well run" office.

Attitude? Who me? Just how "important" was that policy or procedure that you made everyone follow and process with painstaking exactitude? And what about all that energy expended? Now, ask yourself these questions:

  1. How much of this do you have in your office? In your department? In your organization?

  2. How many of your policies and procedures are governed by "control" and/or ego?

  3. How much of your time are you wasting, and how much of other people's time is being wasted on inefficient procedures and misaligned policies?

  4. And just how much time, money, and energy are being wasted on inefficiency due to "control" issues?

Being efficient is an energy issue. It's a time issue, a cost issue, and it's also an attitude and morale issue. Imagine how people would feel after they followed proper procedure to find their meticulous work thrown somewhere in the abyss of a 4 drawer file cabinet? It's one thing to have an attitude about following ridiculous procedures, but what about the attitude they'd have if they really knew what happened to all their glorious work?

This is a great place to "ask the right questions" such as:

  • Why are we doing "this" this way?

  • Who or what is controlling the policy or procedure? Sometimes it's tradition. Sometimes it's somebody.

  • Are there attitudes about the policy or procedure? And if so, why?

  • What purpose does the policy or procedure serve?

  • What steps in the procedure need to be eliminated or adjusted for smoother operations and greater efficiency?

  • What policies are outdated and need to be updated for proper alignment with the goals and mission?

  • What happens after the procedure or policy is followed? Does it serve its purpose?

Are these all the necessary questions? No. When you encounter inefficiency and surrounding control issues, questions abound. Where to turn? First, get the "control" out of the way. Tough choice? Well possibly, especially if you're in charge. Get a grip. Simplicity, efficiency, and quality are hallmarks of great leadership. From the view of Emerson, "Nothing is more simple than greatness; indeed, to be simple is to be great." Then begin generating change for the sake of organizational efficiency and purpose. "Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." A quotable from Einstein.


The Author


Bettina Ann Grahek is an educational administrator with a passion for teaching and leading new thinking, new beliefs, and new practices for leadership in education.

Many more articles in Education in The CEO Refresher Archives
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Copyright 2003 by Bettina Ann Grahek. All rights reserved.

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