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When to stop a management mandate, and some examples

Most managers think that progress calls for doing something additional – more software, an extra step on a process, a shiny new initiative. But good managers also lop off out-dated or ineffectual practices.

Some that my consulting experience has run across include the axe coming down on internal time recording, elaborate evaluations of outside counsel, chargebacks to clients, mid-year evaluations, monthly written status reports, and bi-weekly conference call meetings of direct reports.

On some of these misbegotten processes I have opined (See my posts of Aug. 31, 2006 on internal time recording; April 14, 2005 on elaborate evaluations of outside counsel; June 30, 2006 and May 16, 2006 on charge-backs to clients; mid-year evaluations; and Aug.1, 2006 on monthly written status reports.). The press doesn’t often write about sunsetted management steps.

Part of the reason we don’t hear about actions that are abandoned is that it is difficult for a general counsel to rescind his or her own initiative; usually, a successor knocks out the wasteful activity.

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