Organizational excellence – Importance of expiry date

December 13, 2010 at 2:26 pm | Posted in Blogroll, Organizational Excellence, Systems Thinking | Leave a comment

Recently when I saw my wife cleaning up the medicine chest, I noticed that quite a few of my medicines which are infrequently used had expired and still lying there. I made a mental note to make sure that next time I would clean them up before she does it. But as usual, it also led my thoughts to its implications in other areas of work & life.

As compared to old times, nowadays we receive far fewer physical documents or items. Yet, many a times they keep lying around, sometimes hidden from our attention. What if the first time we see them, we decide and may be even mark an expiry date on them? If we have a way of storing / organizing them by their expiry date, we might be able to get rid of them in time before they clutter up valuable space.

Of course, every day the amount of information that comes in electronically keeps increasing; whether by emails or otherwise. Even after we take action such items still keep lying around. It may be far easier to mark the expiry date and sort them in case of electronic items than physical ones. May be in some cases, the expiry date is now. Best way is to just delete them. For other cases, periodic review would help.

Last but not the least, we keep carrying with us many of our assumptions & beliefs even after the context in which they were formed are changed and no more relevant. Added to this is whole lot of junk from pleasures & pains we experienced in the past but we still carry them and allow us to be influenced by them. If we can periodically check whether expiry date for them has passed, we may feel much lighter and more energetic. I have tried & experienced the benefits in many cases and the process is ongoing.

What is the significance of all this to the organization? Like all human systems, things done right at the individual level do not just add up, but have significant synergistic effects. Those organizations that actively encourage such behavior from its members can reap tremendous benefits and help it to move towards excellence.

I would really appreciate any thoughts / experiences from you that either support or challenge what is said above.

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