As a consultant, I find these three areas as the biggest cause of business waste:
1. Meetings - Inevitably, meetings in organizations become inefficient, dragging on affairs. Why?
a. Managers focus on inputs (bureaucracy) vs. outputs (customer value). They equate meetings with accomplishment.
b. Over-scheduled Managers send subordinates who can't make decisions.
c. Risk adverse employees continually rehash discussions rather than commit to taking action.
2. Documentation - While documenting procedures are important, companies fail in this area because:
a. Over-documenting—even trivial procedures are formally documented.
b. Over-complicated formats—resulting in the actual task being easier than its documentation. This causes project delays.
c. Documents tend to be officially stored on overcrowded servers, making it difficult for employees to retrieve.
3. Failure Work - Work is not done right the first time and needs to be redone because:
a. The outcome and/or process wasn't originally communicated properly.
b. The proper resources (people, time, budget) weren't originally sufficiently allocated.
c. Subordinates did not understand, but were afraid to ask questions.