Recently I was talking to a manager in a large, global business – a household brand that I anticipate anyone reading this blog would recognise.
We were discussing the type of work carried out in his part of the organisation.
In passing he said: "The biggest problem now is that there's no down-time. We're pushed all year round. But people can't work at 100% capacity all the time."
This resonated with me as something that I see in just about every business nowadays.
But human beings are not machines.
We cannot perform at 100% all of the time. We have periods when we perform less well than usual for a whole variety of reasons.
And, of course, all to often leaders and managers have no space to do anything about it, even when they know that things are getting too much for the people they lead.
Because there's no slack for managers either.
At every level in business today people are stretched to the maximum all the time. Stretched to deliver results that simply cannot be delivered consistently day in, day out.
It's easy to say that the Tesco financial debacle is driven by greed.
But could it also be driven by over-worked individuals – at all levels – having misreported, misinterpreted, misunderstood?
If there had been some slack in the system could the situation have been different?
[Image courtesy of iosphere at FreeDigitalPhotos.net]