Should a big company think small?

Written by Paper. Posted in Communication, Drive

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Published on August 30, 2014 with 2 Comments

In the wide world of business it is often said that larger companies like big government are dinosaurs, unable to be flexible and agile in the face of change. Too much bureaucracy or layers of management to turn on a dime. Whether or not this is the case, none other than the Pfizer Pharmaceutical Company is trying to turn that sort of thinking on its head. Upon arriving at his post, CEO Jeff Kindler discovered that there were 14 layers of management between himself and the company’s scientists who were working at 21 different locations across the globe. How did they ever get anything done?
Since then Kindler has been fine tune tuning company management to better focus on Pfizer’s goals – creating new drugs to treat illnesses, getting them through the FDA approval system and ultimately selling the drugs. To this end, he is cutting out any process that seems too convoluted. Where once there were numerous R & D locations full of chemists collaborating on the same projects, Kindler has downsized to just four. Each with its scientists working on the same project. All the better for communication. Instead of 14 layers of management there are now eight. And it is probably now possible to get a paperclip without going through several committees.
But Pfizer isn’t Kindler’s first attempt at streamlining a big company. He once worked for Boston Market where he shut down 100 stores to save headaches. If the Australians would rather have Shrimp on the Barbie why should Boston Market keep trying to sell them rotisserie chicken? Such a formula could very well lead to a better business model whether you’re selling chickens or flu shots but who knows? Either way, we’re guessing that one future day just might hire him to help them sort out the increasingly competitive e-reader market. Kindler for the Kindle?

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  1. BS. If bureaucracy works for the gov’t it sure as heck must work everywhere else.

  2. You see this almost every where you look, specialized managers. Those who manage for sake of managing and lack the broad range of skills that may actually produce something of value. I can relate it to the concept that a true professional really should not need to manage. The scientist should have a deep routed understanding of how the company works to better understand how to achieve his own success. Likewise, an individual should not have to wade through 14 levels of bureaucratic trash to get a stapler. Both issues in my mind are symptoms of waste.