Tom Foster of ManagementBlog.org interviewed me and this is the installment of that interchange. We talked about problem solving and figuring out where to focus.
— Start interview
A couple of weeks ago, I got to spend some time with Dr. Lisa Lang about one of my favorite subjects, Theory of Constraints. Like many of my favorite subjects, Theory of Constraints is a mindset that leads you to take action (make the right move) that is counterintuitive. In other words, left to your own devices, you would intuitively do exactly the wrong thing.
Theory of Constraints helps us to do the opposite. Theory of Constraints has been around for quite a while, but was most coherently explained by Eli Goldratt in a series of books starting with The Goal. Lisa Lang (Dr. Lisa) spent three years as the Marketing Director for Goldratt Consulting. During the past two decades she has used Theory of Constraints (TOC) to help companies solve their most serious problems. This week, I will share with you some of our conversations.
TF: When a management team realizes it has a system problem, what mistakes does it make trying to attack the situation?
Dr. Lisa: Most often, the team doesn’t realize it’s a system problem. Because we are taught to manage in silos, or departments, or teams, most often, we attack the problem inside the silo, and don’t impact the system much, if at all.
By silos, I mean, we tackle sales problems separate from operations problems separate from admin problems. This happens, in part, because we have been trained to work inside our own area, indeed, not to meddle in other areas.
If you look at your organizational chart, you know the silos that exist in your company. Silos, in and of themselves are not bad. It’s that we measure each silo thinking that if we maximize each silo then we will maximize the system or the company as a whole and that’s just not what happens.
…to be continued.
Here’s to maximizing YOUR profits!
By Dr Lisa Lang