donderdag 20 februari 2014


It seems to percolate bit by bit now, even with top-executives: primary processes and information flows are Chefsache. We may learn this from the hitches in IT that shake government services, from the near-fatal neglect by Obama of the implementation of his health system, and from the imminent demise of Polare, a big Dutch booksellerschain.

This insight requires quite a mental change. Until not so long ago bosses were considered above all nót to be busy with the primary process. But for instance the crisis at Polare is attributed by some to precisely that lack of interest, namely because “the owners of Polare systematically neglect the primary process of a bookstore in favor of investment strategies, synergy and all kinds of other considerations. Management takes too little notice of substantive knowledge”.

But it is one thing to know that the primary process is essential, it is something else to act accordingly. Because acting accordingly means more than just changing priorities.

Indeed, this area requires a different way of approaching. It can not be operated the way one manages strategy or human resources or change management. On these topics, the chefs are used to think in broad lines, and to develop plans in a top-down way, roll them out and let them be implemented.

In a situation of real attention to the primary process, that way of operating might very well be less useful. Because such attention implies a certain involvement in the workplace, in the manner of implementation. Less distance. In addition to management skills the content becomes more important indeed.

The objection to this is predictable: the boss does not have time for that, of course. No, that’s true, that’s exactly what makes the change so dramatic. Such an approach would in fact mean that personal enterpreneurship of others, besides the boss, is of greater importance. That initiatives may be coming from more sides at once.

More attention to the primary process could very well lead to fewer Chef and more Sache .

Also see Blowing Bubbles