The job of a regional director was to oversee the performance of her ten retail sites. Every Monday morning she would get her retail managers together to discuss last-week’s results and plans for the week ahead. Managers spent a lot of time in the meeting explaining, defending and rationalising the results. The monthly meeting meant even more time would be given to the same process.

Capability charts of weekly revenue were plotted for each site. The charts showed that sales differed by day of the week: Revenues on Mondays were always low, Sundays always high.

So capability charts of daily revenue were plotted for each site. Mondays were lowest stable. Sundays were highest and stable. In fact every day was stable.

This was a stable system. There was no point in discussing differences between expected and actual performance. All the time given to discussing results was of no value.

They could have been doing more useful work.