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The person who knows everything may be a dangerous thing

Many businesses that I visit seem have either one, or two, people that seem to have an inordinate amount of information held in their heads. These people are often referred to as ‘Oracles’, or similar and they are often the go to person when trouble hits the business.

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When I started my working life I was, understandably, in awe of these individuals. How did they know so much? How did they get so good? I was impressed with their abilities and what they were able to do when it was crunch time.

As I got older, and as these issues seemed to continue in their chronic fashion, I realised that whilst it was a good ability that these people had this much information at their fingertips, it was actually a weakness of the business. The business had failed to fix their processes and capture their knowledge in a way that was accessible to the majority of the staff of the business. In effect, these superheroes were in fact a symptom of a poorly managed system.

There are times when having a superhero is an asset; issues will appear that are difficult to plan for. I am not looking to retire the superheroes that exist in our businesses, I am in favour of putting them on extended holidays instead. When we dig under the skin of the issues of the events that our superheroes have to get involved with there is often a simple process, or management, tweak we can make that will stop this situation having to happen in the first place.

Too many issues in business are caused by the people inside the business and I am challenging you to find the people, situations and reasons as to why this situation exists inside your business. If you start to hunt down these examples you will start a journey towards increased productivity, performance and results.

Happy hunting!

Giles



About the author Giles Johnston is a Chartered Engineer who specialises in helping businesses to grow and improve through better business processes. Giles is also the author of Business Process Re-Engineering and creator of the 'Making It Happen' continuous improvement toolkit.

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