With broken pottery or otherwise, cut back on the least productive processes

Our word ostracize comes from votes in Athens written on broken pieces of pottery called ostrakon. The politician named most often on the pottery pieces was barred from the city for ten years — ostracized. This shard of history and etymology comes from Len Fisher, The Perfect Swarm: The science of complexity in everyday life (Basic Books 2009) at 89.

What if a law department collected a number of its processes – steps that had to be taken for something to be done – and let members of the department vote on the least useful. Whether they vote with pottery pieces or anonymous submissions, that might be a way to prune accumulated encrustations of low value requirements. Banished be from fair Verona the process that has Romeo’d too far.

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