How AT&T Employees Turned Process Gripes Into $230 Million Saved | MIT Sloan Management Review

Leadership & Culture

This new article by Jeremy Legg, Chief Technology Officer for AT&T, has several insights that can prompt leaders and organizations to identify small opportunities—that, when addressed collectively—can have a significant impact on ways of working and organizational outcomes. Jeremy discusses how AT&T embarked on ‘Project Raindrop’ due to an annual employee survey that revealed employees’ frustration with the company’s tools, processes, and systems. The raindrop metaphor is described as follows: A raindrop is an annoying policy, an outdated process, or a tool that’s no longer useful — anything that hinders rather than helps you and your organization move forward. One or two of these may be tedious but bearable; pool enough of them, however, and a day at work can make people feel as if they’re drowning in bureaucracy. Every raindrop wastes time, energy, and/or money. Fixing or getting rid of such raindrops has saved AT&T 3.6 million hours over the past three and a half years and helped the company avoid more than $230 million in costs. Jeremy shares three ways organizations might be able to replicate AT&T’s process, which is informal, driven by employees, and supported by leadership. One question to ask at your next team meeting: What are the ‘raindrops’ in our direct control that can help solve and address larger organizational issues?