Rewarding inefficiency

As a former consultant, I have witnessed too often how some are rewarded for their inefficiency. For those who have never worked for a consulting firm, the management goal is to bill all time to a client. So, pressure is applied to record all time spent working on that client, then pressure is placed on the account manager to bill the time charges in the system.

The dilemma begins when you are working on a set  budget for a project and the agreed upon maximum amount cannot be billed, unless you speak with the client first about why additional work is needed. With those further removed from the budgeting/ billing process, they are told to record time, whether they are inefficient or not. As they are measured on billable hours, people who are inefficient are actually rewarded for their inefficiency.

So, Joe is inefficient on his work and has 1,800 billable hours for a year. Susan is efficient and works well within budgets and has 1,500 hours. Joe will get more rewards for his work, even though the company had to write off 300 of his hours that exceeded budgets with clients. I should note this is not an uncommon dilemma. What Joe fails to realize is future project managers may say we cannot use Joe as we always have a write off. So, this may right itself long term, but in a matrix managed world, Joe does not report to the account and project managers, so he will be judged by his supervisors.

Why am I thinking of this? Our President is getting kudos from his followers for doing what he said he would do. The problem is much of what he said he would do may not be the best course of action. While I applaud looking at infrastructure and looking strategically at how we can increase domestic jobs, measures like building a wall or introducing a travel ban will do very little to accomplish making us safer and dealing strategically with immigration. Neither will ignoring the far greater terrorist threat in our country of anti-government and other domestic hate groups that are already here.

I have written earlier these tactics are more like a gorilla beating on his chest than they are about solving real problems. Data centric analysis should drive what we should do, rather than the campaign rhetoric of a man who is not known for his desire to perform due diligence. So, let’s not reward inefficiency. Let’s focus on doing smart things that can help our country. Building a wall and banning travel are inefficient.




33 thoughts on “Rewarding inefficiency

  1. It is a kind word. The same word could apply to not acknowledging the renewable energy success in creating jobs. This is one area where HRC got it right – move America further forward with new energy rather trying to protect a diminishing one in coal.

  2. Such a sorry state of affairs. We have a Mardi Gras event going on, unfortunately it is not confined to the streets of New Orleans but the House and Senate Houses, as well. Worthless beads and tokens being thrown our way. To appease the masses, with the hope we will believe we are getting something….as opposed to getting nothing? You know, Keith….someone will have to clean up the mess left in the “streets”…..Who is the loser now?

    • Raye, what an apt analogy! I love the beads concept – here is trinket worth next to nothing. But, don’t pay any mind to me (our fearless leader) letting industry rape our environment. Keith

  3. I just love your point of views, Keith! I don’t want to go into detail but this is not keeping promises but following a ridiculous, selfish, and imprudent line which brings more problems than it solves!

    • Erika, agreed. It goes part and parcel with his inability to admit a mistake. He quite often doubles down to defend a lie or mistake, like he did with Sweden. In essence, he is saying he did not lie, he just misspoke or we misunderstood him. Keith

      • The whole thing is a big lie and he thinks that the world is too stupid to notice. He really thinks that because he says it (now as the president of the US) his word is law and nobody will question…. bad misake!!! As I said, his stuff must be anxious about every of his speeches and statements. Because they know that after that there is a lot of rectifications to do!

      • Erika, what is interesting is some of his more rational cabinet leaders and VP are disagreeing with him openly, even apologizing that he really did not mean the things he says. It is not too dissimilar from Duterte’s ambassadors from the Philippines.

        Thanks for sharing your global perspective. Keith

      • It is my pleasure because I am feeling with you all! But again, I don’t believe he is going to make it through the 4 years. He is making all efforts for a shorter term!

      • Erika, I am hard pressed to see him lasting that long. There is much more to the Russia story, which is why he is pulling out so many stops to discredit the media. It is imperative to see his tax returns (which over 70% of Americans want), as there may be some interesting items therein. At some point, the Republicans in Congress will have to find their conscience. Keith

      • Well, he doesn’t do himself a favor for cutting off the media. He is obviously not playing with open card and these days this is not “appreciated”! We will see…

    • besides…..who can keep track of his so-called promises?? He’d say one thing and five minutes later the exact opposite!! For myself I fear the republicans will finally accomplish one of their long time goals and dismantle Social Security….just as I’m about to retire and finally use those benefits I’ve been paying into my entire life…..the chump “promised” not to touch Social Security. Somehow I really wonder about that (along with everything else….but this one is on my mind a lot)

      • Toby, they will be hard pressed to dismantle social security and medicare. Social security has some relatively straightforward funding fixes and medicare is too needed to be altered greatly. Keith

      • Toby, Erika, the lack of reliance on the US under this man has unnerved countries and businesses. By his nature and inane comments, there was yet another set of stories about countries either doing military exercises or reacting to the impact of Trump in their commerce. This lack of reliability is not a surprise to me as we could see this coming many months ago if he won. The fact that four of his cabinet members (Kelly, McMaster, Mattis and Tillerson) and Vice President have had to assuage fears of allies and openly disagreed with him is unprecedented. Keith

    • Janis, as I wrote earlier in the month, the cost estimates are nearing John Oliver’s engineer who said $25 to $30 billion, not counting land acquisition and future maintenance. But, facts get in the way of a good story. Keith

      • I read a headline (not the article) that there are some Texas republicans who do NOT want that wall. guess we’ll see what happens huh?

      • Toby, I saw a piece on PBS Newshour about that, as well. Texas benefits greatly from immigration and trade with Mexico. They stand the most to lose with things that interfere with that. The piece focused on the number of Texas jobs tied to trade and immigration with Mexico. Keith

  4. Note to Readers: I thought crossed my mind about something that happens in the corporate world and government. To show others how mindful of spending managers are, companies cut staff. But, with the work needing to get done, they hire independent contractors. The government does this as well. So, here is how they math breaks down. The organizations saves money by getting rid of compensation and benefits costs. Yet, they spend more money paying the independent contractor and his or her supporting profit margin. What is also lost his the intrinsic knowledge of the organization. So, we need to watch costs for all these hiring freezes as we may end up spending more money.

      • Janis, it happens quite often. I have a funny story. I had a client who downsized often. He asked if I could hire a person he had to cut and bill back her pay at an hourly rate. As they were a good client, we did not add any profit loads to the bill. Because she did so much work for them, paying her on an hourly basis cost them about three times as much. I asked him often if he was aware of this. So, to save money through reduced head count, they spent three times more. Keith

  5. Dear Keith,

    As a former republican who is also pro business and who worries about our deficit, I have always decried the inefficiency and the bureaucratic nature of government without sufficient accountability. But DT’s policies are going to only add to gov wasteful spending and our deficit without producing the desired results.

    Ciao, Gronda

    • Agreed. Before his nuclear and military build up chest beating, the CBO and Committee for Responsible Federal Budget estimated his plans will increase our debt by over $5 trillion in the next ten years.

    • Kim, I won’t argue with your point about his divisiveness. That has been his history. I do think our country is doing much better than he has portrayed, yet we still have problems we need to deal with. Starting with real sustainable solutions are critical, but he would rather focus on his bumper sticker promises. Keith

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