The TOC Thinkers blog is in the middle of a series of articles on management and Theory of Constraints by Bryan Logan. The whole set is interesting (and long), but the 4th entry, NEW MANAGEMENT THINKING - Increasing Productivity, has a quote that amazes me every time I see it used in real life.
Regrettably far too many executives remain firmly convinced that the only way to increase productivity is for their employees to work harder or faster. A chief executive in Northern Ireland was quoted in his company magazine as saying; "Any employee not producing value-added work all the time is a waste". This attitude stems from the continued misunderstanding of productivity and a lack of any real appreciation of how it can be managed. In turn this has resulted in a complete failure to see any need for change, which unfortunately persists to the present day.
I am clearly spoiled by Theory of Constraints thinking - statements like this are the gold standard example of what ails businesses that think they can "efficient" themselves to success. And this mind set is buried deep in management thinking, so I shouldn't be that surprised that people still utter these statements.
Sigurd Rinde has a related item on Competitiveness or Efficiency. I left a comment, where I brought up effectiveness.