As Director of the BCG Institute, Yves Morieux analyzes how companies manage to succeed in varying organizational structures. In his 2015 TED@BCG London TED Talk titled “How too many rules at work keep you from getting things done,” he assessed 3 tenets of workplace efficiency from two wholly different perspectives. Watch the speech below.

Morieux is an expressive presenter – using his hands to highlight points of importance. You can see the concern in his face and hear the passion in his voice. The presenter believes the productivity decline is an issue that will only be solved through simplification of processes and a focus on flexibility. Beyond the core message, many parts of Morieux’s TED Talk stand to me.

Simple Illustrations

If Morieux took the Badge assessment, I am almost certain he would score high in Exploration. At the beginning of his speech, he describes the state of business efficiency with clear, visual aids – clean graphs charting the decrease in overall productivity from 1950 to 2015 across several countries.

“Think of all the problems that we’re facing at the moment. All. Chances are that they are rooted in the productivity crisis.”

Source: Yves Morieux, “How too many rules at work keep you from getting things done”

Meaningful Metaphor

At around the 2:26 mark, Morieux outlines the 3 elements of workplace efficiency: clarity, measurement, and accountability. To illustrate his thoughts on the modern-day need to chart performance and continually outline objectives and indicators, he tells a story about a women’s world championship final track race. The team from the United States is favored to win. According to the team’s past performance and all data calculated on their running and the fact that two of the fastest woman runners in the entire world were on the U.S. team, it was a no-brainer. Despite the obvious edge the U.S. had, a historically slower team won the race.

“With cooperation, we can do more with less.”

Source: Yves Morieux, “How too many rules at work keep you from getting things done”

Morieux’s visual metaphor drove home his main point that data collection and constant reporting means nothing if departments and individuals are not working together.

Full Circle Narrative

Because humans crave clarity, we over-analyze the mechanics of an action and lose sight of the end goal and of each other. We stay within our own bubbles – limiting the impact we could have in other areas of a business. Because our employers assess us based on a set of metrics, we concern ourselves only with those measurable activities and forget to engage in the interpersonal aspects of our positions. Because we need another person to blame when things go wrong, we put more effort into creating systems of accountability for failure than allowing the business to transform and grow.

“If you think about it, we pay more attention to knowing who to blame in case we fail, than to creating the conditions to succeed.”

Source: Yves Morieux, “How too many rules at work keep you from getting things done”

What I enjoy most about Morieux’s TED Talk is his ability demonstrate how an approach like the efficiency trinity – clarity, accountability, and measurement – used to work in simpler times, but holds companies back in an era of complex business systems. He begins his speech with the objective to make the point that what we are doing just is not working.

To see more of our favorite TED Talk speakers, check out the following posts!

The Progression of Points in a Recent TED Talk by Pope Francis

A Passionate Point of View: A TED Talk Presentation Analysis

Storytelling Tips from a Trending TED Talk

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One response to “The Productivity Decline: A TED Talk Review With Yves Morieux”

  1. Ndombi Osolika says:

    Straight forward, candid and concise. The need to elegantly present, in appealing , form and format sometimes gets in the way of the essential matter. Thank you for sharing.

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