Skip to main content


The invisible, lurking foe of enterprise:

What costs do we see?  The ones we count.  Accountants, bookkeepers and CPAs will tell you where things go in a financial package.  This is quite different than running an operational engine where coordination and interaction are key.  Running the spreadsheets about what happened, or is projected to happen.  Running the operational engine about the day to day, hourly human to human coordination that surrounds.

"Move that machine into place, so we can fix this other machine."  Things.  Locations.  Humans, particularly in business orient around two components. Things.  And, the various location of those things.  We don't really count the surrounding interactions.  The mishaps and misunderstandings.  The omissions and misdirections.  The [Coordination Waste] in the [Conversational Layer] that surrounds our focus on things and their locations.  Coordination waste costs today - mostly invisible - certainly unseen in the everyday business income statement and balance sheets.  Some suggest that as much as 80% of our current productivity is waste.  Waste whose removal could turn directly into profit on an enterprise's bottom line.

Look Differently, See Different Things:  We talk about productivity, and we talk about collaboration.  Though, we don't talk openly, outside of the typical backchannel snot circles about the elephant in the room.

"The number of extraordinarily unnecessary conversations we are in."

The seemingly endless, point missing dialogs about things their location and the people that put them there.  Exchanges when we are rushing or assuming shared background.  Assuming shared care.  None of this means we don't have to have conversation.  It means we should beware of and avoid pointless conversation. 

Meaningful conversation being about concerns, offers, requests, specification of satisfaction, acknowledgement of fulfillment, recalibration, and even apology.  Not people's attributes.

On vacation once I found myself in the middle of a custom cabinet install.  Let's say it was the cost of passage.  Three beautiful cabinets literally filling the bed of a small pickup.  On arrival we looked at the install location and delivery path.  All clear.  The first two boxes went in with just a little effort.  The third wouldn't.  We went outside, three, or four of us talking about the situation.  And after about 15 minutes one says, "I've figured it out."

We then went back in and the solution was described.  The choice was made to heft the third box into a particular sequence of positions.  Sure enough, it fit.  They all fit.  Casework installed.  Done.

No tangents.  No finger pointing.  No posturing.  Just coordinated effort.

It is when we add the psychology of our being to conversation that things become real, personalized messes.  Such costs buried deep amongst our common interpretation of productivity, direct labor costs, and the peanut butter cost spread of indirect labor, administration.  The sick days.  The missed meetings.  The aversion to follow through.  The propensity for confusion, disengagement.

Note: A very large, old company [ g a l l u p ] is building a business around coordination waste.  They just don't know it.  Nor do I think they see the value and simplicity of speech acts, and particularly The Language Of Coordination as a solution.

The Language Of Coordination.  Flores' speech acts and simple distinctions allow us to think and begin to move differently in and around coordination waste costs.  Once we begin to see these new types of waste, costs really, only then can we can consider mitigating them and work to remove them from the equation.

EXPLORATION: When we start thinking about costs differently what can we see?  What different types of cost can you see?  How would you categorize them?

Misconnection costs.  Transition costs.  Psychology costs.  Lost productivity costs.  Lost opportunity costs.  All meta buckets for rich exploration in terms of defining what coordination waste is in specific circumstance.

Case Example ~ Situation | Solution | Result:

Situation > The Business That Has A Thin Understanding Of Marketing.

These businesses have limited choice.  The value they are to their customers unclear.  Often, exactly who their customers are unclear.  These businesses often compromising to get projects, or compromising too much to keep projects.  Costs often felt in relationship strain, though not expressed, or not expressed well.

Solution > Increase Possibility, Extend The Network, Increase Conversations.

Positioning/Repositioning: People buy solutions to their concerns.  Sometimes concerns are simple and known.  Commodity offers.  Sometimes concerns more complex need to be highlighted.  Often concerns are invisible and become visible through repositioning and socialization, sharing.  Invented relationship by relationship in reciprocal, recurrent dialog.

Increasing possibility can be as simple as launching an effort.  Often it is not.

To increase possibility we must increase focus on concerns.  Mutual concerns.  We must be clear about value.  We must be clear about who the customer is that values us and why. 

We also have to have readily available assets to produce the offers we make.  We must be at the ready to fulfill.

Inbound, outbound, internal, external our job is to create, to cultivate a particular listening in others for the value of the offers we make.  Preparing them for acceptance.  If our offers address concerns, that's value. 

Value production needs to be full circle.  Reciprocal in multiple directions.

Positioning, and particularly repositioning an offer successfully takes great willingness.  Willingness to shift, to adapt.

Receptivity and resonance to the offer directly connected to perceived complexity and lack of clarity.  When concerns are listened and value is created by design, there is much more clarity, receptivity and resonance.  Models and modeling skills, very valuable here.

With value resonance comes increased possibilities, more choice, and typically larger fractional ownership of outcome.

Result > Hat Tip To Operations, Guided Fulfillment and Cranking Up The Engine.

Here We Row Together: Sensibility to role, culture and style differences, as well as keen sensibility to the difference between offer and request critical.  Whose capacity is being expended?  Whose concerns are being addressed?

Here we are building an engine of asset inputs, asset outputs.  We are building the capacity to harness those assets for future outcomes.

Distinctions: Cost, Conversational Layer, Speech Acts, Positioning, Concerns, Value, Offers, Requests, Engines, Assets, 

Relation To Core: Acknowledgement, Observational Frameworks, Navigational Capacity, Bridging Realities, Human Interactivity's Ones & Zeros, The Language Of Coordination, Turning Business To Enterprise, Reciprocally Transactional Loops,