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Heart Health By Mark L. Vincent

Steward Leader Heart Health

I am a big fan of the Schumpeter column in The Economist. Several years back, the 2 August 2014 column, Decluttering the Company hit a nerve for me….hard.

Two brief quotes from the article made the point, quoting Peter Drucker,

“Much of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to work.”

“The most debilitating form of clutter is organizational complexity.”

The editorial goes on to define where such complexity occurs:

  • structure
  • meetings
  • e-mail (the editorial calls any e-mail a time tax for people at either end of the communication)

Think of this as organizational artery clogging — globs of fat clinging to the production lines that produce revenue. Arteries need to be there so that what is needed can flow to the parts of the system that need it. Impediments need to be removed without delay. If not, management tasks shift from managing the flow to managing around the clogged artery.

Companies grow in a rhythm of surging forward, stabilizing, retrenchment and then surging ahead again. Each subsequent cycle happens in tighter time-frames and with more impediments threatening the arterial flow.

Leaders, becoming managers, are sorely tempted to add policy, internal processes, layers of communication and more meetings. Leaders, remaining leaders, choose something necessary to add, but matched by the courage to end something else—working diligently for an ever freer capacity for the arterial flow so that mission gets the resources instead of administration consuming them.

At the time this article poked me hard, I was also noticing I needed to do the same thing personally. When my life is clogged I have difficulty paying attention to the clogs that threaten the company. If I am overweight, sedentary and not eating well, the arteries of my body become clogged. So does my mind. If I  do not pay attention to my body, how can I have the capacity to care for my life?

Since then, having given specific attention to arterial health in every form, I am 50 pounds lighter, eating more consciously, working less in the business and far more on it, and guiding the steward leadership of a growing company that now has fewer meetings and less complexity.


Mark L. Vincent Ph.D, CCNL is CEO of Design Group International, an organizational development company he co-founded in 2001 to help organizations and their leaders transform for a vibrant future.


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