Thursday, February 23, 2023

Who needs a bureaucracy?

Who needs bureaucracy?
You might, if some of these situations are yours:
  • If you don't know your people well enough to trust them
  • And, you don't have time or opportunity to get to know them
  • And there are consequences beyond just undoing a bad decision they might make, .....
Then the management solution is simplicity itself:
Invent a bureaucracy and assign them to it!

Bureaucracy is the management alternative to person-to-person trust. And, it's the go-to system for rules and boundaries. 
  • Rules, regulations, protocols, and cultural doctrine do a lot of the work. No trust required; no fuss, no muss!
  • Sometimes, incentives are useful, so don't leave them out.
  • If it comes to it, HR probably has some bureaucratic rules for discipline
Now admittedly, bureaucracy cuts against the flat, agile grain which is "the way to do it" for modern managers. 

But, beyond a point, flat is too flat, and agile is too agile.
Let's be realistic:
  • Many can not handle complete freedom, 
  • Have questionable judgement, 
  • Are misaligned to strategic goals and imperatives, and 
  • Generally spend time and money without regard to the fact that neither the time nor the money is theirs.
Bring on the bureaucrats!
If you do, you might gain some of these acknowledged advantages:
  • Generally efficient with large scale tasks because of predictable work flow and stable organization, buit-in personnel development, and committed capital resources.
  • Predictable performance, because the 'way things are done' is very repeatable with central clustering of performance metrics.
  • Generally neutral when the workforce is large, reflecting the corporate culture rather than individuals. Thus, diversity is very narrow centered on the corporate culture
  • Accountability and durability is usually built-in with rule, protocols, and doctrine that are hard to budge

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