Improve customer service: Eliminate bureaucracy!

Bernd Geropp

Avoid Bureaucracy! I hate bureaucracy. I fall into a sense of helplessness when I think about bureaucracies. What are you doing to make sure that bureaucracy does not get a foothold in your company? Photo: ginasanders/ Resource:

Bureaucracy Must Die

Harvard Business Review

This is the recipe for “bureaucracy,” the 150-year old mashup of military command structures and industrial engineering that constitutes the operating system for virtually every large-scale organization on the planet. It is the unchallenged tenets of bureaucracy that disable our organizations—that make them inertial, incremental and uninspiring. Bureaucracy is the technology of control. There’s no other way to put it: bureaucracy must die.

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On Leadership and Bureaucracy

Linked 2 Leadership

In bureaucracy the hierarchy is typically very complex with many levels providing a highly differentiated structure of authority. Future Leadership Issues Leadership Assessments Leadership Lessons Learned Leading Change Organizational Health bureaucracy at work business corporate politics leadership ManagementIn the private sector, if people don’t work productively, their businesses will go bankrupt.

Bureaucracy is a Bogeyman

Harvard Business Review

The dictionary says bureaucracy is a means of coordinating activities through standardized rules and procedures. We might not like the idea of Italian bureaucracy very much, but it beats having Silvio Berlusconi in charge. And I always push back when they say bureaucracy is the problem. Bureaucracy is a convenient bogeyman, as it can mean anything that is bad about big companies.

EBM: Bureaucracy


Bureaucracy is used so often in such negative terms, most who use it forget its roots. Bureaucracy in its ideal sense, according to its most influential thought leader Max Weber, can be a positive term. At the time, the ideal bureaucracy was a more rational and efficient form of organization than the available alternatives. Each of these seven principles must be present for a bureaucracy to function efficiently. Leadership bureaucracy weber

"Bureaucrats take on bureaucracy"


"Lorna Fong, who retired after 34 years handling state human resources, led the team on a mission to suggest which of the state’s 3,666 job titles could be whacked, which could be rewritten and which should be kept and consolidated.

Tangible Recognition of Company Values

Tony Mayo

I needed get free of their bureaucracy to focus on running my business. To his credit, however, he did go back the next day to apologize and be absolved, thus demonstrating one of the the oldest rules of bureaucracy.

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Top-Down Solutions Like Holacracy Won’t Fix Bureaucracy

Harvard Business Review

For all its enemies, bureaucracy is amazingly resilient. That makes bureaucracy the organizational equivalent of kudzu, the invasive, herbicide-resistant vine that has overrun thousands of acres of woodland in the American south. Why is bureaucracy so difficult to eradicate?

How to Stop People Who Bog Things Down with Bureaucracy

Harvard Business Review

Our research on the founder’s mentality suggests that energy vampires and the bureaucracies that spawn them are among the main reasons why many companies lose speed and their sense of mission as they grow. Companies are filled with energy vampires.

The Bureaucracy Battle


What amazes me is how many good civil servants stick it out, and deliver needed services despite work conditions that constantly trip them up. They deserve medals. But they’re not proof of a working system, but of the extraordinary strength of human character.

What It Takes to Innovate Within a Corporate Bureaucracy

Harvard Business Review

“This stuff makes my skin look like chalk.” ” That was 13-year-old Balanda Atis’s immediate reaction when she looked at herself in the mirror.

PR 6

How I Led Change in the U.S. State Department Bureaucracy

Harvard Business Review

Department of State is a seriously big bureaucracy. My experience as a digital leader in the Obama administration confirmed my optimism that change can come to large bureaucracies. Leading change in any large organization is hard, and the U.S. Until early November, I helped lead a relatively small (400-person) bureau within it. Witnessing both failure and success in government, I saw three common elements required to realize positive organizational change.

Innovating Around a Bureaucracy

Harvard Business Review

What do you do if you're a leader in a large, successful organization with an entrenched bureaucracy, and you see the need for innovation? The Internal Revenue Service (IRS), however, was successful in transforming its bureaucracy.

Five Reasons Why the Talent Leaves

First Friday Book Synopsis

Here is a brief commentary from Berrett-Koehler, the publisher of a new book that I highly recommend. In Make Talent Your Business: How Exceptional Managers Develop People While Getting Results, Wendy Axelrod and Jeannie Coyle’s explore how talent development can best be facilitated by the managers with whom the “talented and gifted&# work every day. [.].

How strategic listening can engage employees in an open and realistic way

First Friday Book Synopsis

Bob's blog entries “Enduring Ideas: The business system” “WeOrg: The freedom to choose" Gary Hamel’s Management Innovation eXchange (MIX) Harvard Business Review How strategic listening can engage employees in an open and realistic way McKinsey & Company Taking a realistic approach to budgeting The Beyond Bureaucracy Challenge the importance of engaging employees in an open and realistic way The Management 2.0

3 Ways to Actually Help Your Team (and Yourself!)

Lead Change Blog

Leadership Development bureaucracy empower help Problem Solving Servant LeadershipPosted in Leadership Development [link] “No Way!” ” I was working with a leader whose team was struggling. They were frustrated, felt like their leader did not care, and were dealing with the same problems over and over. I suggested that the next time a team member addressed one of these issues he ask a simple question: “How can I help?” ” [.].

Break Though Your Mental Bureaucracy

Harvard Business Review

These two self-images can coincide because the manager compartmentalizes his life, creating what I call a "mental bureaucracy.". To what extent do you compartmentalize ? Or rather, do you ever put things into categories to understand them? Psychologists define compartmentalization as a defense mechanism that we use to avoid the anxiety that arises from the clash of contradictory values or emotions.

14 Ideas for Busting Bureaucracy

Harvard Business Review

Everybody hates it, but so much of life is ruled by it: bureaucracy. That's why we launched the Beyond Bureaucracy Challenge. Here is the complete list of Beyond Bureaucracy Challenge finalists (in alphabetical order): WeOrg: The Freedom to Choose. Cutting through Big Blue Tape: Using Collective Passion to Scissor Bureaucracy at IBM. It's time to bust up the ideology of control that has infiltrated every aspect of organizational life.

"Harry Potter and the Half-Crazed Bureaucracy"


This was posted here before but it bears repeating. From 2006: The memorable law review article by Benjamin H. Barton. [HT: HT: Instapundit

Nobel: Honor a Leader, Not a Bureaucracy


Yes, instead of giving the prize to a clutch of ugly plate-glass office blocks in Brussels, the Nobel committee should have awarded it to Margaret Hilda Thatcher. Read the rest of Boris Johnson's essay here

Who's Moving Their Company Beyond Bureaucracy?

Harvard Business Review

We are delighted to announce the winners of the Beyond Bureaucracy Challenge , the second leg of the HBR/McKinsey M-Prize for Management Innovation. We asked some big questions in our quest to bust bureaucracy: What does it mean to build an organization in which everyone is aligned and inspired by a deeply-felt sense of purpose? Together, we can move beyond bureaucracy to a more human, resilient, inventive, and inspiring form of organization.


How to Create Smart Organizations

Leadership Freak

Bureaucracy, fear, lethargy, lousy leaders, and antiquated systems make… Continue reading → Author Book Notes Innovation Leading Success Growth Leadership Development organizational success Leave a comment on this post for a chance to win one of twenty-five copies of, ”The Idea-Driven Organization,” by Alan Robinson and Dean Schroeder.

The Proven Path to T.R.U.S.T.

Leadership Freak

Bureaucracy. Everything takes longer when you don’t trust those around you. Mistrust doubles the cost of doing business. Professor John Whitney, Columbia Business School. 5 qualities of low trust organizations: Redundancy. Politics. Disengagement.… … Continue reading → Author Book Notes Courage Leading Taking others higher Culture Judith Glaser Leadership Development leadership success Organizational Development

Demography, Bureaucracy, and the Decline of Europe


The gravity of Europe’s demographic situation became clear at a conference I attended in Singapore last year. Dieter Salomon , the green mayor of the environmentally correct Freiburg, Germany, was speaking about the future of cities. When asked what Germany’s future would be like in 30 years, he answered, with a little smile, ”There won’t be a future.” Read the rest of Joel Kotkin's column here

How to be Humble without being a Loser

Leadership Freak

Haughty leaders: Harpoon creativity with bureaucracy. Hideous leadership is hedonistic, haughty, haphazard, hypocritical, hesitant, and halfhearted. The four weaknesses of haughty leadership. Arrogance needs control. Hassel progress by hounding and meddling. Hovering leaders create hesitant cultures. Hampers initiative by speaking for others. Invite those who have ideas to present them in meetings themselves, regardless of […].

Six Ways to Innovate in Rigid Organizations

Leadership Freak

But, many are mired in systems and bureaucracy. The future rides on a horse called innovation. Organizations that can’t innovate stagnate. Some organizations have innovation in their blood. It’s easier to begin innovating within rigid cultures than it is to change them. Think skunkworks. Systematize innovation in organizations driven by systems. Evolution or revolution: Innovation […].

Saying Yes is Harder than Saying No

Leadership Freak

Weak leaders hide behind bureaucracy and love making people beg. Don’t pat yourself on the back if you’re skilled at saying no and lousy at saying yes. The more times you say no, the more… Continue reading → Courage Curiosity Decisions Innovation Leading Questions Success Taking others higher Culture Growth Leadership Development organizational success

Six Rules to Simplify Work


The real battle is against ourselves, against our bureaucracy, our complicatedness. Most re-organization efforts either focus on hard stuff (processes, strategy, structure, KPI’s) or on soft stuff (culture, values, relationships, feelings).

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Robert Gates on the Essentials of Leading Change

Leading Blog

Only a committed leader can keep an organization—a bureaucracy—on its toes, continuously adapting, innovating, improving.” Without micro-knowledge, you are the prisoner of your bureaucracy and your staff, and they will play you like a cheap fiddle.”.

The Tangled Path | A Look at Government Regulation

Lead Change Blog

In this video, John tells the tale of two typical Americans, Tom and Irene, as they attempt to tangle their way through bureaucracy. Leadership Development bureaucracy government Leadership regulationPosted in Leadership Development [link] This is a video by Instigator John M Bernard about the problems caused by the growth of government regulation. John asserts that unless we refocus on citizen outcomes, and clean up the mess, our American [.].

More People Work in Large Companies than Ever Before

Harvard Business Review

Cost-cutting isn’t curbing bureaucracy. Managing organizations Video

20 Ways to Rouse the Flamingos

Leadership Freak

Indecision and bureaucracy inspire slumber. People stop trying when it’s hard to get things done. Successful leaders make it easy to get things done. 20 ways to rouse the flamingos: Don’t use a team when an individual is all that’s needed. Choose a path and make it work. Don’t keep making the same decision over […]. Decisions Feedback Leading Managing Marks of leaders Taking others higher Teams Leadership Leadership Development organizational success

The Downfall Of Status Quo

Eric Jacobson

Today's leadership thought: "Status quo breeds mediocrity, calcifies bureaucracy, cripples progress, and hampers changeability," explains Shawn Murphy in his new book, The Optimistic Workplace.

5 Leadership Lessons: To Pixar and Beyond

Leading Blog

We just have to be tuned to it; we have to be willing to balance bureaucracy with the depth and subtlety of creative inspiration, and awareness of the human dimension of our endeavors.

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The Fuzziness of a Healthy Team

Ron Edmondson

Bureaucracy diminishes progress and frustrates the team. Clarity is often king in organizational dynamics. Clear communication is vital for healthy teams.

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Finding And Being A Mentor With Richard McLemore – The Answers From Leadership Podcast Episode 6

Joseph Lalonde

Don’t get caught up in bureaucracies. T oday’s guest on The Answers From Leadership Podcast is Richard McLemore. He was the Canada BDC Regional Manager for Oracle. His specialties include coaching hiring/interviewing, revenue attainment, and career development.

Bureaucracy Must Die

Harvard Business Review

This is the recipe for “bureaucracy,” the 150-year old mashup of military command structures and industrial engineering that constitutes the operating system for virtually every large-scale organization on the planet. It is the unchallenged tenets of bureaucracy that disable our organizations—that make them inertial, incremental and uninspiring. Bureaucracy is the technology of control. There’s no other way to put it: bureaucracy must die.

Whiteboard Session: What Stops Companies From Growing

Harvard Business Review

Chris Zook explains how you can fight bureaucracy by thinking like a founder. Managing organizations Video

It’s Not Impossible – It Just Hasn’t Been Done Yet

N2Growth Blog

As I’ve said before, a leader’s job is to disrupt mediocrity – not embrace it, to challenge the norm – not embolden it, to weed out apathy – not reward it, and to dismantle bureaucracies – not build them. By Mike Myatt , Chief Strategy Officer, N2growth.

Great Leaders Embrace Innovation, and Innovation Demands Risks

Great Leadership By Dan

They have the wherewithal to know that you get what you measure, they craft a review rubric to ensure smart investments, and shepherd proof-of-concept prototypes through the corporate bureaucracy all the way lines of business.