Productivity’s Four Sworn Enemies

Rick Wartzman

In his latest column for Bloomberg Businessweek online, Drucker Institute Executive Director Rick Wartzman reflects on estimates that companies lost a combined $1 billion in employee productivity on Cyber Monday, as they spent work time doing their holiday shopping.

But Wartzman writes that “the real cause for concern among managers should be those time-wasters that dog their enterprises every day of the week, all year long.”

He notes that in The Effective Executive, his 1967 classic, Peter Drucker “identified four specific areas in which time loss ‘results from poor management and deficient organization.’” They are: overstaffing; an excess of meetings; information that flows to the wrong part of the organization or arrives in the wrong form; and what Drucker termed the “recurrent crisis.”

“So don’t be fooled,” Wartzman concludes. “Cyber Monday may be a $1 billion time suck. But it’s [these other drains on output] that add up to a truly costly black hole.”