Episode #1559 Roger Martin: The Downside of Efficiency

Hero cd2363e7fe0a8433047202bafd300aad medium

Perpetual excellence is difficult to achieve - in business or life - and rarely does one variable in isolation lead to lasting success.  One of the world's preeminent thinkers, Roger Martin rejoins Moe Abdou to explore the many blind spots that accompany traditional thinking models and why ascending leaders choose a different path. 


W1siziisijiwmjavmtevmtcvmtuvmjmvmzmvmjavmjaxof8wn18xmv9yb2dlcl9tyxj0aw5fagvhzhnob3rfc2tvbgxfzm91bmrhdglvbi5qcgcixsxbinailcj0ahvtyiisijewmhgxmdajil1d

Roger Martin

Thinker, Author, Advisor, and Speaker View Full Profile

When More Is Not Better

For over two decades, my team and I worked closely with accomplished individuals and their businesses on financial strategies that addressed their most sophisticated problems.  Core to our philosophy was a foundational principle that heightened the importance of understanding why one variable in isolation hardly leads to optimal results.  As such, to maximize outcomes, one needs to be more strategic about integrating the critical aspects of his/her life - and modern business is no exception.

Speak to any high-profile consultancy about ways to accelerate your business, and the topic of ‘efficiency' will undoubtedly enter the conversation - what is it that you can do better, faster, and with fewer resources?  And, while that’s likely to reveal areas of improvements - the big flaw, however; is ignoring the broader system to fix a symptom.  Only when a leader is able to see her organization as a living organism - one that needs to be fed, nourished, protected, and inspired - will she start to think deeper about the invisible barriers that are likely knocking an otherwise healthy system, out of balance. 

One of the great thoughts that I keep top of mind is Marcel Proust’s idea that “the real voyage of discovery consists, not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”  And few embody that thinking more than Roger Martin.  Since my introduction to him in 2010, I’ve always known him to challenge traditional thinking, and his latest book - When More Is Not Better:  Overcoming America’s Obsession With Economic Efficiency - does just that.  This time its about America’s economic prosperity, and as he’ll articulate during our conversation, there’s a profound urgency to reimagine the very notion of capitalism.   Here’s how our discussion flows:

  • The upside of the Covid-19 Pandemic.
  • The downside of our mental conditioning as leaders, and what to do about it.
  • The model of efficiency is imperfect, so why does it continue to be the default business school curriculum?
  • The leaders and organizations that have distinguished themselves in 2020.
  • An imperative for thinking about the future - with or without Covid-19.
  • The flaws in efficiency thinking. 
  • Why the Net Promoter Score is too narrow a view of customer loyalty?
  • Striving for efficiency and resilience.
  • Why the quality of your tools is in direct proportion to the quality of your execution?
  • Designing a bigger future based on contribution.
  • Resources: