Bureaucracies stifle innovation. It doesn’t matter if the organization is an association, a government agency, publicly traded company, or a local mom-and-pop store.
This truism even applies to McDonald’s.
McDonald’s has always been the benchmark for standardization, uniformity in product and service deliverability, and consistency in pricing. With increased competition and changing customer tastes, even McDonald’s is now looking for ways to get closer to their customers.
This week The Wall Street Journal reported that McDonald's will eliminate layers of management and bureaucracy to streamline decision-making. This includes creating four zones— Northeast, South, Central, and West—to help organize the company around local consumer tastes and preferences.
According to the company, they want to be more sophisticated in how they use local intelligence to address specific consumer needs.
Smart move on their part.
Local control is important regardless of the type of organization.
It doesn’t matter if you are talking about the management of restaurants, schools, stores, cable companies, governments, or any organization that serves the public, individuals and institutions closest to the customer/diners/students/voters/etc. are the most knowledgeable and best suited to make decisions about customer needs and wants.
Yes, technology can allow organizations and management to get closer to their customers. It can help organizations tailor offerings and pricing to local tastes. It cannot replace input from line workers who are often outside the decision-making loop, yet possess some of the most attuned knowledge about their customers.
Burger King is experiencing significant growth by listening to franchisors who know best how to serve their customers.
Get local, decentralize decision-making, and grow.
It’s working for Burger King, Kraft, and potentially McDonald’s. It could also work for you.