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Can you really optimise an organisation's performance?

Posted to Gurteen Knowledge-Log by David Gurteen on 23 June 2013



Can you really optimise an organisation's performance?
WeblogGurteen Knowledge Log
Knowledge LetterAppears in the Gurteen Knowledge Letter issue: 156
Posted DateSunday 23 June 2013 11:59 GDT
Posted ByDavid Gurteen

A pet peeve: I squirm whenever I read an article or an ad that talks about "maximising profits" or "minimising costs" or "optimising performance". For me, the author's credibility drops through the floor.

You may be able to optimise the performance of a machine but in the complex social as world, it is impossible to minimise, maximise or optimise anything there are always unintended consequences, trade-offs and balances.

You may be able to increase worker productivity by putting them under pressure or cut costs by paying them less but when they leave the organisation as a result, you lose valuable knowledge and experience and incur hiring and training costs. There is a balance to be struck and there can never be any optimisation as such.

Talking about optimising the performance of your organisation makes no sense - even if you had optimised performance - how would you ever possibly know?

The word these authors should be using is "improving" but "optimising" your performance sounds so much grander than merely improving it!

If you are interested in Knowledge Management, the Knowledge Café or the role of conversation in organizational life then you my be interested in this online book I am writing on Conversational Leadership
David Gurteen

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