Making Interim Changes Now

This entry is part 10 of 18 in the series Interview Tom Marine Gets Right Upfront


MM: So when you looked at this visual depiction and then started to create an interim optimized workflow—at what point did you start applying activity-based costing to the workflow?

TM: Actually, the activity-based costing came after that. I’ll tell you why. It came when there was recognition of how much indeed the new process was going to be able to change the workflow.

MM: So let’s use this as an opportunity to shift into the optimized workflow.

TM: Sure.

MM: Over the course of nine months in this War Room, you developed a visual end-to-end depiction of the messy current-state operation.

TM: Yes.

MM: Out of this precipitated a number of interim changes that you could make, because they were easy, self-evident, and everyone said, “Let’s do it.”

TM: Yes.

MM: Then you developed a new workflow. An optimized workflow embracing some core principles—one of which you identified as, “Right upfront.” And enter data once and only once.

TM: Yes. Enter once, publish many times.

Getting the Right Job Done

MM: Yes. And “stay online.” So, as much as possible, keep the work online as opposed to going offline in an analogue or physical work activity. Is that right?

TM: Yes. Although I think you might cover accountability and enabling within the “right upfront,” the enabling thing was kind of a sticky point, there. It was important for people to do what we called, “Staying out of somebody else’s backyard.”

You can’t do their job for them. If they’re going to fail, they’re going to fail.

MM: So it’s kind of, “You’re accountable for your work, and you’re not your brother’s keeper.” Or—what’s the psychological term? “Enabler.” What do they call that when you enable somebody else’s addiction or bad behavior?”

TM: We call them “enablers.”

MM: Enablers. Okay. So, “Stand on your own two feet and get your job done,” is another core principle.

TM: Right. That doesn’t mean you can’t be helpful. But you can’t do somebody else’s job for them.

MM: Perfect. So that was your principle around enabling. No more enabling bad behavior or enabling shoddy work.

TM: Yes.

MM: You’re accountable for producing high-quality work now in this increasingly transparent self-evidently accountable workflow process.

TM: Right. Because people recognize that if nobody else is doing this…

MM: It ain’t gonna get done.

TM: Right. You can’t hide any more.

MM: So this has actually two dimensions to it. You just described the downside of it. That is fear of recrimination and ridicule and maybe some lost jobs.

But the upside of it is, I am now an acknowledged contributor. I’m needed. I make a difference. I contribute here in a very direct and now transparent and accountable way.

TM: Yes. We are dependent on you.

MM: Yes. And we are inter-dependent—that sense of being part of a team in and of itself provides a sustainable motivation for getting it right upfront.

TM: Yes.


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