Tangled earphone cables and business processes.

I can guarantee that when I take my earphone cables out of my pocket, they will be in a tangled mess. Although it’s frustrating, this is predictable behaviour which was described in the paper “Spontaneous knotting of an agitated string,” .  This was commented on by various publications including The Independent 

Business process tangles are where a process folds back on itself, interferes with other processes or becomes a knotted mess where no one really knows what’s happening. I believe that both of these tangles have some factors in common as shown in the table below:

Factors that increase the probability of tangled cables

Equivalent reasons for business process tangles

String length

Process length.  The greater the number of steps in a process, the greater the probability that it will tangle

String flexibility

Unnecessary and unmanaged process variation. While processes should continually improve and be responsive to customer and business needs, all change must have an appropriate level of control. 

Points of contact or crossing 

End-to-end business processes should flow through from customer demand to delivery.  Where a process is ‘chopped up’ by organisational silos, there will be an increased probability of tangles caused by poor handover to the next process stage.

External motion

Poorly managed organisational change or response to customer demands is an equivalent force that can result in change.

What do you think?

Clever but lazy people are the best leaders

Kurt Gebhard Adolf Philipp Freiherr von Hammerstein-Equord classified his officers into four groups:  stupid and lazy, stupid and diligent, clever and diligent and clever and lazy.  He commented that ‘Anyone who is both clever and lazy is qualified for the highest leadership duties, because he possesses the intellectual clarity and the composure necessary for difficult decisions.
These are the innovators, visionaries and leaders.  We need more people who are clever and lazy leading UK business!
Here is my interpretation of his four groups:

Von Hammerstein-Equord.001