June 12, 2013

Use “Telephone” to Audit Your Company’s Inefficiencies



In third grade (AKA Grade 3 for Canadians reading), I was introduced to the fascinating phenomena that is the “Telephone Game”.  Mrs. Dohar would tell the person sitting in the back corner of the room a task only one time.  It was then passed along to each person in the class via faint whisper.  By the time it reached the 30th kid in the class, the message was barely coherent and the task had no chance of being executed.

How is it possible that a message could get so distorted?  What if Mrs. Dohar just told one person that had to relay the message?  Wouldn’t that increase the accuracy and likelihood of accomplishing the task?  What if Mrs. Dohar didn’t say anything and just did the effin’ task herself instead of all the time she spent calling my parents.  That seems like it would have saved 30 kids more time to focus on recess and ensure that the task was completed as it should be.



Look at some of the processes you have in place at your company.  Instead of re-routing tasks and information, establish and identify who the final authority is on each division of your business and remove anybody in between.   To do this, consider the source of any issue or task that might arise.  Make that person the primary contact via a phone number, an email address or recipient.  Give them all the resources they need to understand, process and complete the task.  Some examples to consider where many inefficiencies lie are below:

Customer Support






Use something like Subtask to outline where all of the touch points are with different departments at your company and to show responsibility or where you can cut out different members of your team that interact with these departments but provide little to no value.

Here’s an example list of vendors and support interactions in terms of responsibility.  Becky focuses on operations at Ecquire.  Not a small task.  At first it might seem like it’s overwhelming, but when it’s clear that she has the responsibility and is the only contact from the initial interaction to the end to complete a task, a very efficient process  can take place.


2 Comments on “Use “Telephone” to Audit Your Company’s Inefficiencies

June 13, 2013 at 2:39 pm

That’s a great tool! I’m really enjoying the logical layout and convenience of Asana, but this looks look for actual planning sessions in person or remote meetings.

Do you find yourself transcribing any of this information onto other list-style programs for actual project management or is this your 1-and-only?

I wish I could enlarge that image without ctrl +.

I enjoy the way your brain works, sir.

Paul DeJoe
June 13, 2013 at 4:56 pm

Hey Nic – thanks for the comment. I have to admit I just came across it a couple weeks ago. We use Flow for task management much like you use Asana but viewing things all at once in an abstract way was difficult for me. This helps with peace of mind when you can see things relationally and abstractly. At least for me it does. We love Flow and use that for day to day projects and task management. Subtask is like an infographic of how the company’s operations work and are related. I tried to make the image bigger, thanks for the recommendation and thanks for the brain comment. That’s a much needed confidence boost this morning.


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