Avoiding Rigamarology


Today’s edition of The Porch is an update from a post from many months ago when many of you were not yet regular readers.  So, it is likely this is new for most of you.  Anyway, we look today at identifying and eliminating waste of all kinds (e.g., rigamarole).

First of all, let’s take a look at some definitions around the study of rigamarology:

  1. Rigamarole = a long, complicated, and annoying process; confused or meaningless talk; a complex and sometimes ritualistic procedure (yes, this is in the dictionary, look it up!)
  2. Rigamarology = the study or dedication to rigamarole
  3. Rigamarotocol = documented set of meaningless activities or non-value added steps

Growing up, I often heard my father use the term “rigamarole.”  I came to understand that this meant meaningless steps or activities.  As you see from the definitions above, rigamarole describes perfectly what we attempt to eliminate when we pursue continuous improvement, whether at work or in our lives.  A key element of continuous improvement is to identify and eliminate waste in all its forms.  We also attempt to simplify existing steps and activities that no longer add value.

So, why do we put up with rigamarole in our lives?  It could be that it is easier to continue doing what is wrong than taking the effort to make it right.  Or, it could be that we just have not stopped to intentionally consider how things could be better.  Or, it could be that we actually invented the rigamarole that plagues us.  For whatever reason, why continue allowing our lives to be complexified (yes, another new word for today) for no good reason or for no added value?

My challenge to you is this….

Begin asking yourself these questions, “What value is being added by this step or activity or report or meeting?  How will the company or my life be better as a result of this?  Would our customers or patients pay extra for this?”  When you catch yourself asking these questions and providing an honest answer, you will be amazed at how many non-value added activities (e.g., rigamarole) you encounter in a day.   A key element of our future success as individuals or an organization is helping to drive out these non-value added activities.  We must help our organization avoid a dedication to rigamarole and eliminate clutter in our lives.

If you could eliminate one item of rigamarole today, what would it be?  Now, put your thoughts to action and go do it!  Have a great day!

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