I’m sorry to bother you. Like most bureaucrats, I know how busy you are. I see you running around, and I hear about all the committee meetings, studies, and the late nights that you spend in the office. But the real question is, “Are you getting anything done?” If you’re a bureaucrat who measures progress by being busy or shuffling paperwork, you’re probably doing well. But if the real measure of success is getting stuff done, you’re falling short!
The fact is, bloated bureaucracies crush aspirations, suppress ingenuity, and grind responsiveness to a crawl. In these organizations, policy changes are made to satisfy employee convenience rather than the needs of the customer; the “show” becomes more important than the substance; rewards are earned through favoritism rather than results; and solutions are chosen for political expediency rather than for their merit. The result is that politics — who gains power, who gets the credit or the blame — overshadows everything. This is an organization in decline –– losing touch with reality.
As a bureaucrat, you may be thinking, “I’m doing my best. It’s tough working in a bureaucracy. Every idea has to run the gauntlet to move forward. Besides, we’ve gotten beaten up so much it’s hard to care anymore.”
The bottom line is that I, like so many others, have had it with the excuses. Whether you’re a business, a not-for-profit, or a government institution, bureaucracies were created to increase efficiency. But instead, in most cases, bureaucracies cause people to thirst for power, value personal ambition over team gain, and put paperwork before people.
If bureaucracies no longer serve a positive function, shrink them! The fact is, real issues are not being addressed and real people are getting hurt. Every day that you measure success by how busy you are rather than by the results you achieve, you’re letting your constituents down — you’re ignoring the market, adding unnecessary costs, letting ideas collect dust on the shelf — and the result is that it takes forever, and I mean forever, to get anything done.
If you’re a bureaucrat — whether in business, public service, or elected office — take a moment to think about your responsibility to your constituents. More importantly, do something about it. You’re either part of the problem or part of the solution. If you don’t care, maybe you should. You collect a paycheck to get something done, not to be a placeholder. If you can’t, or should I say won’t, do your job, give someone else a chance.
Follow your conscience. Sleep well.
Is Your Organization Run By Bureaucrats?
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