How To Use Positive Friction
In the drive to make our systems more effective and efficient, managers will subconsciously work to drive out all friction. The push is for a perfectly clean room where effort is applied to continually eradicate any chance of contamination to the management system we have devised,
When a new source of contamination arrives it threatens the order we have created and wreaks chaos on the processes we have engineered for stability and success.
This process stunts growth and makes an organisation, and its managers, teams and individuals,
To avoid such a trap, business needs to engage in regular immunotherapy. Rather than design to keep all friction out of the system, we should inject productive friction at the right times and in the right places to build up the resilience and health of the management system, along with the resilience of the management assets within that system.
New ideas and proposals for change within an organisation are always a cause of stress and worry for staff but the reality is that the friction this creates allows for organisational and personal growth. Managers who regularly introduce change and new methods/approaches into the business need to be praised for using some disruption in the name of progress and operational growth.
Key questions that generate some positive friction include:
- What would happen if the current operational processes were revised to save 10% on costs?
- Why have we not asked our customers what they are looking for next from us?
- How can we make the human resource inputs to our product/service delivery work more effectively?
- When do we need to engineer changes to our current product/service delivery model to keep ahead of the competition and at least maintain the customer loyalty we have now?
Think of some positive friction that you can engineer in your area of responsibility and see how this can then benefit and add value to your current means of operation.
If there was no friction then organisations would become stale, lose their direction and be at the mercy of other businesses in the market: in short, they would never survive.
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