The Feedback

It’s the era of Big Data but not the era of Big Controls. That is to say, for all the new information we have at our fingertips, we don’t necessarily have the measurements, systems and feedback loops to make sense of it all. Peter Drucker had advice on how to design effective controls, and so we presented his seven specifications and asked what our readers saw in their organizations.

Reader Daniel Pacheco said that consultants make their money precisely on taming the “data flood” that the “operational guy” produces:

How does the consultant do it? He uses his intuition. What if the operational guy uses his intuition? Then the operational guy moves into the strategic mode and does not need the consultant. The consultant will have no work and will have to become the operational guy.

We also considered moves by Apple to monitor its suppliers in China. Is it realistic, we asked, to think that we can set common minimum environmental and labor standards and enforce them around the globe?

Nope, said reader Bob Jack:

The implementation of common labor standards seems to be an impractical idea, and lacks the global institutional framework to achieve them.

Dx Reader was more hopeful:

Establishing common labor standards may be difficult but just because something is difficult, doesn’t mean it is unnecessary—indeed, just the opposite. Sometimes the hardest things to accomplish are the most important.

And reader Ajay thought Apple’s example was a helpful one, if it’s coupled with consumer awareness:

Apple’s initiative of voluntary audits through an esteemed not-for-profit is the best approach to improving labor standards. Apple took a similar voluntary drive to significantly improve its products’ impact on the environment when green organizations pointed out the presence of hazardous compounds. Bigger impact can be made by educating consumers on these subjects and raising general awareness to a level where these concerns become part of buying decisions.