RED TAPE: HOW TO GET UNSTUCK
By Bruce L. Katcher, Ph.D. President, Discovery Surveys, Inc.
Six out of every 10 employees
feel that there is too much red tape in their organization
Part 1 - THE PROBLEM:
Employees often feel it is just too difficult to get things done
in their organization. Even simple activities like ordering supplies or hiring
a consultant are monumentally difficult tasks
There are just too many forms to fill out, approvals to gather,
channels to pass through, or consensus gathering meetings to conduct. The
result: annoyance, frustration, and paralysis.
Where does the red tape come from? When small organizations
become larger, new systems, policies, and procedures are introduced to regulate
and discipline the organization. These well-intentioned measures are supposed
to help the organization operate more efficiently and cost effectively.
However, these bureaucratic procedures often do just the
opposite. They put a stranglehold on the organization. Employees feel they just
don't have the decision-making authority they need to do their work. The small
organization, where employees felt empowered, gradually becomes a distant
memory in the minds of the old-timers.
The organization becomes bogged down in its own internal
procedures rather than focusing on its key goals such as customer satisfaction
and profitability. Eventually, the organization enters into a state of
perpetual gridlock and productive activity grinds to a screeching halt.
Part 2 - WHAT SHOULD BE DONE?
- Untangle the Red Tape.
Take a hard look at those processes that are
bogging things down and frustrating employees. Are they really necessary? What
damage would occur by streamlining or simplifying the processes. Involve those
who are stuck in developing a set of questions to systematically evaluate these
red-tape traps. For example,
Is this policy, procedure or practice
Can it be simplified?
Is there a less complex alternative approach
that can be taken?
- Go Around the Red Tape.
Ever notice that some people in your organization
just don't have the same red tape problems that you do? Often, this is because
they have delegated the red tape tasks to others. Or, these red-tape avoiders
just don't worry about the same approvals, forms, and protocols that others in
the organization obsess about. Be bold! Don't assume the worst! Try it and see
what happens! You may be pleasantly surprised.
- Throw out the Red Tape.
Organizations typically do a much better job of
creating red tape than they do at eliminating it. Perhaps, that form,
procedure, or approval has outlived its usefulness and should be abandoned. Be
a pioneer by taking the lead! Instead of streamlining operations by eliminating
people, eliminate the procedures that make the people less productive.
So, don't get stuck anymore.
Untangle, go around, or throw out the red tape.
I am very much
interested in your views on this topic.
Please reply with your comments and
suggestions to .
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