These procedures typically appear when there's an initiative to reduce costs. The easiest and cheapest way to employ an unskilled person to do a skilled job is to hand them a book of 'procedures' on their first day and say "Everything you need to do and know is in this Book". No time consuming cross-training required, no hiring of expensive people who already know the skill. As the Book of Procedures enables you to rinse and repeat the process with every new hire, you are no longer invested in keeping 'talent' within the organisation; good people leave once they realise that the job is 70% procedure vs. 30% actual work... No matter, there's always The Book, let's hire another grunt from the employment queue.
However, because you are filling up your organisation with unskilled workers, errors become more common place. To reduce the error rate, you introduce some extra checks and balances to ensure that the job is being done correctly. These extra procedures go in to The Book. The ratio is now 90% procedure vs. 10% actual work.
People who actually know how to do their job, having learned it well, or had previous skills, get frustrated that most of their workload is 'make-work' following all the extra procedures, and the people who have no skill, just follow the The Book, because they know no different, and it keeps them out of trouble.
Meanwhile, somewhere upstairs in the boardroom, people in grey suits are patting themselves on the back as operating costs have fallen, profits are up, and incidents are down. Creating The Book of Procedures is now considered a valuable skill in it's own right, so the people who care about climbing the managerial pole devote large chunks of their time adding yet more processes to the The Book, and thus the cycle continues, until several roles in the company are nothing but endless procedure creating/tracking without any actual product output.
There's still the problem of a high attrition rate amongst the middle tier staff, but hey, there's always more fish in the sea right?
I think that large companies optimize for a fundamentally different outcome than smaller companies, like startups. Large companies became large by applying a successful business model, something that startups are still lacking. If you have a working business model and stable cashflow, any change is potentially dangerous and can take down the company. So in contrast to whatever the marketing material says, rigidity and inability to change is actually an asset for large companies. This means the more inflexibility is added to the organization (e.g. by imposing a Book of Procedures that can never be abolished, employing people with no real power to change anything, or self-selecting a staff which is, put blatantly, incompetent to change), the longer the organization keeps existing. Until the market changes fundamentally, that is.
There are lots of products that are essentially exactly the same as they were years ago, which is great — change is often a bad thing for consumer products and tools. Typically the only value that innovative managers have in these companies is making the product incrementally cheaper and shittier. The value is that it makes room for quality competitors.
This sometimes produces waves of change (seen as painful and haphazard by the old staff), when new ways to run the company are invented to keep up with the competition. Then, with new stability, a new calcification phase comes, etc.
I work for a F500. The top brass of the company sincerely want us to move into new areas. So they just buy companies that are already innovating.
People recognize the problem of big companies trying to innovate. One solution is to create isolated innovation teams that function more like smaller companies. I work in one of those teams.
That’s actually an intermediate step. The interesting side effect of “the book” is that any sufficiently advanced organization will and does recognize the codification or procedure as a chance for automation and increased efficiency. The dangerous thing that might occur here is that “the book” became “the system” in the late 90’s when IT invaded every organization. “The system” got an upgrade here or there - but more or less cargo-cult’d the manual process. More dangerously - “the system” works, and got extended to integrate with another “system.” Changing either one would require substantial work, and the individual that wrote the original “book” has long since left the organization, leaving behind a process frozen in time.
If my memory serves me correctly.
No offense to any of our sailors intended, and this is also true for civilians. You won't necessarily have The Expert or The Author right there during execution, for example.
Also on top of that: sometimes the procedures really are hosed [first draft going live, change the test at the last minute, whatever] and deliberation has to be made until you can rewrite the step for clarity//accuracy//reality and move along. Bring lots of red pens, bring more than you need because you'll burn through all of them.
Handbooks are read during downtime not primetime.
If I may be fair to myself, the incident in question was during peacetime in the middle of nowhere and was completely routine. Yes that monotony and similar can be a Great Evil, but still... all of my wow.
Second, inevitably there will be a series of edge cases which any rule is poorly suited to address. These edge cases require a thoughtful application of regulatory authority, which itself requires a thorough understanding of the current context and the purpose of the rule. This thoughtfulness requires intelligence or deep domain expertise, which is often not found in the regulators because if they had these things then they wouldn't be in boring regulatory jobs like HR to begin with. Evaluation of edge cases also requires work, and it's far easier for someone to simply say no than it is to actually investigate the request.
Third, everyone knows that some employees are more valuable to the organization than others and should be allowed to bend or break simple rules as long as permission is sought. However, this will inevitably invite a bullshit lawsuit and so companies have a huge incentive to codify policies and be rigid about them.
Not only that, organizations measure different things differently even from the start. If someone is socializing at work and this wastes 15% of their time, but a procedure to prevent them from socializing at work wastes 40% of their time, everyone is actually better off to just allow employees to socialize (or what have you). But "employees slacking off" is an unsanctioned thing to be reduced whereas "employees following procedure" is an officially sanctioned thing to be increased, so the fact that the procedure is more costly than the "abuse" never enters the decision process.
Of course there is also a question of whether these procedures can be updated. And whether you can improvise in an emergency. You need more training for that. But this doesn't mean checklists are bad.
Another example: when cooking a new dish, if you start with a recipe you'll probably get up to speed faster than just winging it. This doesn't mean there's no creativity.
> Another example: when cooking a new dish, if you start with a recipe you'll probably get up to speed faster than just winging it. This doesn't mean there's no creativity.
Fair, but a recipe is about as far from a checklist as you can get while still retaining bullet points. The degrees of freedom in typical recipes are so large you could drive a train through (it's probably unintended - people writing down recipes having zero experience with precise communication). I'm not a very experienced cook, so ambiguous recipes are a pet peeve of mine.
Good baking books will actually get a lot closer to having specifics in them. They can do this however because a lot of the ingredients that are used in baking are rated based off of various levels of one or more of the chemicals that will significantly affect the result of your baked product (ash level, acidity, sugar content).
For example, the Toll House Cookie recipe has been executed how many millions of times with predictably good results.
Policies are to tell humans what the priorities are so they can use their brains to solve new problems. As long as you have new problems, write policy to guide people.
In both cases, you need good feedback in order to improve. People frequently distrust the feedback mechanisms in the Book of Procedures, because they have experience that says that those books have cycle times exceeding any reasonable amount of patience.
However if you consider a company as a means to a shared endeavour, then human agency becomes extremely important.
If you view it in the context of small-scale food/retail/manufacturing it fits really well. It doesn't fit well for creative efforts, but I'm not sure that invalidates the book either.
It’s ok to have non-scalable businesses; but E-myth isn’t about that kind of business.
There are no people in black suits patting themselves on the back. They have bullshit jobs by The Book too. It's The Book all the way to the CEO, who just performs procedures from Another Book to appease the anonymous crowd of stakeholders.
And your favourite *coin will make it even easier for there to be even more ruthless anonymous crowd of stakeholders, yay, progress. I don't even care what's your company named or of it hurts their employees or makes weapons, my blockchain AI owns a stake and I demand the next quarter profits to raise.
No malice. Just ignorance and inability to escape incentives everywhere.
That's the key to win in this game.
You define the rules, and the conditions that qualify as success. Once you've done that you make the remainder of the story opaque.
One more thing is to talk in vague terms of percentages and averages. Most people won't understand a word of what you are saying and will still look a good story.
The problem here is that the patient doesn't have a general practitioner (GP, I will call it your/my "doctor" in the rest of the post) or that apparently there's huge wait lists. If I call my doctor, I can get an appointment within 2 work days or roughly half a week. And everyone in my country (The Netherlands) is insured for such visits. In fact, if I want to see a psychologist or physiotherapist or psychiatrist I first need to see my doctor for a reference, for my insurance. That's how it works here. Your doctor is your entry level. So, why not go to your doctor if you have a health issue? Here you would, but apparently in the country this person is from (I suppose USA) that's nigh impossible.
Also, employees have medical privacy here. Yes, a doctor could write such a letter, but ultimately the patient has privacy. Many doctors here flat out refuse such written statements, saying it isn't necessary. Though that might be on a case by case scenario.
On the other hand, I do understand the employer's PoV as well. If person X wants something special, then person A, B, and C also want that something special and before you know it you have half of your employees with -say- all kind of odd food allergies. Although it seems in this case the employee brings their own chair; here that'd be unheard, the employer would arrange a chair for the employee which suits their special needs. So, I disagree that this is a bullshit procedure but I am unsure how to solve the issue in a way where privacy is guaranteed, and then I say: take the loss of privacy in this case for granted and get the written sign.