A satisfactory business study confirming the old business saw that 10% of the people do 90% of the work.
According to Annunzio's analysis, only 10% of elite information workers work in high performance-workgroups. The remaining 90%? Apparently they labor away as modern-day Bob Cratchits, in environments that neither demand nor deliver optimal performance. Ebullient accounts of the ideal workplace are nothing new in business nonfiction, nor are the lugubrious tales of moribund organizations. The author rarely notes here, though, anything we haven't heard a million times before from Tom Peters, Steven Covey, or even Donald Trump. Her maxims are boilerplate business clichés: value people; optimize critical thinking; seize opportunities. But basing a formula for business success on such bland principles is problematic, since they are so vague as to be meaningless. Do companies fail because they neglect to do such things? Most failures had nothing to do with workgroup functioning; instead, they stemmed from lack of foresight and, more commonly, simple bad luck. Nonetheless, Annunzio does proffer good advice for companies that wish to maximize the performance of their workgroups. First, identify those that are performing at a high level, those that can provide evidence of profit/revenue growth along with product, service, or process innovation. Second, work on bringing average groups up to maximum performance. More importantly, avoid destructive behaviors such as micromanagement, bureaucratic interference, resource and information hoarding, politics, and control. She also makes the astute--and cost-saving--observation that before hiring high-priced consultants to solve business problems, companies might consider consulting their own employees, who are more likely to know the answers.
An adequate guide for running high-performance workgroups within a corporate setting, but far from a guaranteed formula for business success.