Dollarizing the Dumpster

Dollarize – turning a noun into a verb.

It may also turn your employees into aggressive cost cutters. In this continuing discussion on “more”, I want to discuss sharing more information with your employees. HOWEVER, we need to define more. My definition is – more information employees truly understand, and most importantly, more they genuinely care about.

Several years ago I met a gentleman who was the new CFO at a large company. After getting his feet wet for a few weeks, he began to express concern over the sheer quantity of information that was being produce internally. He had a magnificent idea. He stopped producing and communicating all information and reports… and waited for his phone to ring, After a few days people started asking, “hey, where is my such and such report”? His response was, OK I will get that for you. This went on for a few weeks. At the end, what he discovered was about two-thirds of the information being produced was evidently not being looked at, since no one called looking for it.

At the next staff meeting he reported his findings and followed up with these two questions to the management team. What do you need to know? And, how often do you need to know it? In my experience, they may have been the best two questions any CFO or Senior IT manager ever asked.  Those two questions can and should be asked of  every employee of the company. If they are engaged and invested.

In that light… back to turning nouns into verbs. Why is it, at the top of the organization the only language spoken is dollars, yet elsewhere in the business we speak everything BUT dollars (typically)? A favorite illustration we use is “dollarizing the dumpster”.  When on a tour of a manufacturing facility we always seek out the area where the raw material scrap or defective product is piled up. I grab a couple of employees and ask, “what is this”? They typically come up with a reasonable definition. Then I ask “what’s it worth, how many dollars are here”? 99 times out of 100 they have NO IDEA!

To the CFO it is 100 thousand dollars of defective product, to the employees it’s just stuff. Valueless stuff.  Make more, make less… I still get $15 an hour.  That is a serious disconnect. The workforce is neither engaged or invested. There may be different illustrations, but this atmosphere applies to any type of business.

It is imperative that employees know the value of what they are producing and the value of what they are consuming.  Absent that, the “recipe” of organizational performance is sorely lacking and you are leaving millions of dollars of output and cost reduction on the table.

Employees must be participants culturally and financially in the value centers of the business. If they are not, then they are simply paid spectators.

“More” on Monday.


About Karl F. Muller

Specializing in driving Organizational Performance to new levels. Utilizing a tactical and focused four (4) part strategy to engage all employees in the pursuit and achievement of performance and real financial results. Applicable to manufacturing, service, distribution and corporate services groups. We have worked throughout North America with businesses and facilities ranging from 50 to 5,000 employees, union/non-union. Define... Measure... Pursue... Reward. Celebrating our 30th year. 200 public speaking engagements, 5,500 senior managers trained, 700 organizations assessed. We are serious, tactical, focused. No fancy corporate speak, no blue suits. Just Results. The Muller Group, Inc.
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