Frugality & Organisations

Every new season means a change of wardrobe. It’s the time of the year when I open the doors of my closet, take all my clothes out and organise them into two different piles: a pile to keep for next year and a pile to pass down to my auntie (she started to ask one month ago when I was changing my wardrobe). Every new season leads me to a more streamlined, efficient and practical version of my wardrobe, which means more streamlined, efficient and practical possibilities of packing my suitcase (a relief for my brain). No doubt, the great Marie Kondo (with her book The life changing magic of tidying-up) taught me how to embrace frugality and showed me a more sustainable, conscious way to understand what I own and what I really need.

Many organisations look like one of those huge double wardrobes, stuffed with clothes before the season changes. When you open the door, clothes are poking out. When you open a drawer, clothes are poking out. It doesn’t matter if clothes are folded, hanging, organised by colour or simply messy… Clothes are everywhere. If I need to pack my suitcase, it will take me three times longer.

These companies are very intriguing to me. They do have very detailed organisation charts (the famous tree-like ones), all kind of departments with a profusion of specializations, three-page long job descriptions for every position, annual appraisals from which you can get a thousand graphs,… But they stand still when they have to take action. Too many clothes make it impossible to pack an efficient suitcase.

On the other hand, there are organisations which are the other side of the coin: resources are scarce, minimum headcount (but they do not need a job description to bring results), a L&D agenda based on MOOCs (most of them being far better than many supposedly made-to-measure training products available in the market) and where appraisals are the casual conversations you can have when sharing a coffee with the person who hired you (which happens more often than the formal annual appraisals a line manager has with the team). Without rambling, these organisations jump from idea to action in the same way you open a drawer to take out a pullover.

Maybe someone should write a method to help these clothing-stuffed organisations to embrace frugality. A method guiding them to open their doors and create some piles: here, everything which is not relevant; here, everything we have but we don’t know what the purpose is; here, everything we like the name of, but we never use,… So, little by little, we can streamline the organisation in a way to be able to pack an efficient suitcase. There’s an idea for you, Marie Kondo!

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