Is Your Organization a Meat Grinder or a Think Tank?

Posted by Matt Logsdon on September 19, 2017


We’ve all heard about “company culture”.  I’ll summarize here. It is the collective beliefs, values and principles of an organization’s employees. Every company has a culture no matter the size or number of employees.

The web is saturated with information on the topic.  Go ahead and Google “company culture” or “organization culture”, I’ll wait.

See! There is a ton of information out there on how to define, characterize and change the culture of an organization. 

That said, I have made some observations that resulted in two specific categorizations that I refer to as “Meat Grinder” and “Think Tank”.  I know there are others, but let’s focus on just these two for now.

I’ll apologize in advance for the exaggerations.

A “Meat Grinder” organization is all about the numbers.  In this world, every employee is conditioned to focus on turning the proverbial handle and cranking out product.  Whether it’s getting raw material out of the meat grinder.png earth and converting it to usable energy or making chocolate-covered bananas (which, by the way, are delicious). These organizations are so busy being busy they seldom make time to think about ways to improve their business. The old suggestion box is still hanging in the break room but doesn’t get much action these days unless you consider the cleaning company who dusts it twice a week.

A “Think Tank” organization is the opposite. Every activity within this company takes on the form of a science project.  Every decision is over analyzed. Every alternative is considered and reviewed in detail. Everyone is encouraged to have input and lots of time is spent thinking about improving the business, little time doing it. Not only do these organizations have a suggestion box, most have put in an express lane to thinktang.jpgreceive ideas. 

Be honest. If you had to categorize the culture of your organization into one of these two buckets where would it fall? Similarly, if you had to categorize yourself, where are you?

Working without thinking is a dead-end street. Thinking without working doesn’t even have an address.

Clearly, organizations (and people) need to have the balance of both. Having insight as to which improvements will have the largest impact on their business allows the traditional “Meat Grinder” to look more like a “Think Tank” and visa-versa.  

As my good friend and colleague Anthony Honaker says: "Strategy without execution is a daydream, execution without strategy is a nightmare!" 

We see many sides of an organization as we help that team reach their full potential. We believe the business processes are as much assets to your organization as the physical ones you maintain for production. This is why we developed Propel. This solution enables organizations to visualize and manage performance so they can reduce risk, manage outcomes, and achieve operational excellence. Want to learn more about balancing numbers while cognitively addressing processes? Contact us for a discussion today. 


Topics: Performance Management, business process

Written by Matt Logsdon

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