The U.S. Marine Corps likes to boast about its “tooth to tail” ratio versus the U.S. Army. The tooth being the combat power, the tail being the support echelon. With its motto of “every Marine a rifleman,” the Marines take pride in accomplishing more with less, in being able to put more Marines on the front line of any conflict with lower levels of support personnel than any other branch of the Armed Services. The Marines like to say that they are “lean and mean.”
The concept of “tooth to tail” ratio applies to business as well, only the tooth is whatever your ultimate goal is and the tail is whatever is necessary to get you there. How efficient are you? How effective are you? Are you lean and clean? Or are you corpulent and bloated?
- Are your systems aligned with your goals without excessive or outdated requirements?
- Do you keep polices and procedures to the bare minimum?
- Do you regularly take time to examine your processes to eliminate red tape?
- Do executives take the time to undergo the customer experience? Call the company customer service desk from the outside or try to use the company website from a client’s perspective?
How is your tooth to tail ratio? Where can you apply this concept? Does it create any new perspectives for you?