The Feedback

Last week, we wound up on focusing a lot on mediocrity of one sort or another. In his latest column for Bloomberg BusinessweekRick Wartzman talked about Eastman Kodak’s fall from greatness.  Reader Pat Leonard, however, felt one dimension was missing from the analysis:

Wartzman . . . did not touch on complacency as a contributing factor. Too often the number ones fail to listen for the footsteps.

We also sprang off an essay about mediocre quarterbacks in the National Football League, prompting us to ask how one should fight against mediocrity in the workplace. Reader Sergio said that if the organization is otherwise healthy, then only sound and psychologically astute management can solve the problem: [EXPAND More]

[This] represents the great 21st century management challenge [PeterDrucker so often posed to us all when he said, ‘Making the worker achieving implies consideration of the human being as an organism having peculiar physiological and psychological properties, abilities and limitations, and a distinct mode of action.’

Finally, in springing off the news that President Obama wants to streamline the federal government, we invited our readers to give suggestions for reorganizing what many see a sector plagued by mediocre performance. Some, like reader Greg Zerovnik, offered technical remedies:

Put all the Cabinet departments onto zero-based budgeting with no roll-overs allowed, with the exception of Defense.

But reader Mike Grayson took a different tack:

Rolling a bunch of smaller, ineffective, government bureaucracies into one big, ineffective, bureaucracy is foolishness of the highest magnitude. . . . The strategy for reorganization is quite simple: First, identify the customer and what do they value; the challenge is in the execution. . . . Peter Drucker had, and has, the answers. . . . It is unfortunate indeed, that his great wisdom is rarely, if ever, applied to government.  [/EXPAND]