Lean Thanksgiving

Eric sends this link to the Wall Street Journal article An MBA Thanksgiving; a tongue in cheek business approach to managing -or mangling as the case may be- the biggest feast day of the year in the United States. The consultants interviewed for the article favored complexity reduction, focusing on the core product line (turkey, dressing etc) and outsourcing the pies to guests. For example, Bain & Co recommend following the 80-20 rule:

Bain assigned our case to Mark Gottfredson…whose specialty includes complexity reduction. He compared Thanksgiving dishes to stock-keeping units, or SKUs, retail-industry lingo for individual products offered. “As companies innovate over time, more SKUs get on their menu, and there’s very little mechanism for them to come out,” he says. But more SKUs mean more complexity — and more costs. It’s easily solved, Mr. Gottfredson says, by applying the 80-20 rule: focus on the 20% of things that drive 80% of the value….The turkey, stuffing and gravy are the dishes guests most want to have home-cooked — so outsource, or guest-source, the rest.

Not to be outdone, one consulting group suggested identifying “strategic intent,” or focusing on getting the most out of the holiday. Katzenbach Partners suggests that while turkey may “be the key to happiness for a family of foodies” that a family comprised of dysfunctional relatives should “concentrate on social network analysis” saying that “If the value proposition for each of your stakeholders isn’t crystal clear, ask them directly.” PricewaterhouseCoopers recommends managing difficult relatives through downsizing:

Don’t invite family members known as troublemakers simply out of guilt or obligation. It may be hard, but it’s important to just bite the bullet and get over it

I think it’s quite humorous but then, I’ve been using meal planning and child-raising to explain project management for a very long time. If you have my book, you already know that. Read the article, you’ll learn a lot and it is quite funny. Enjoy!

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One comment

  1. Eric H says:

    You’ve got that one relative who gets sauced, then insists on helping, and then inevitably breaks something or sends the turkey shooting across the table when he tries to carve it? Give him a lateral promotion: no raise, but a huge new title, like Executive VP, Children’s Table Operations.

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