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April 1996 Vol. 5 Issue 2


The Bureaucrat is often a wolf in sheep's clothing. Their perverse ways penetrate all facets of an organization and can bring the rolling wheels of continuous improvement, progress, innovation and profitability to a halt.

How to recognize Bureaucrats:

1. Those who love meetings and beating to death every issue with hours of discussion.

2. Those who are always volunteering  for the projects with no accountability to revenue production.

3. Taking five hours to get our a one page fax, which is urgently required by a customer.

4. Always afraid and paranoid of the competition, employee theft, and what there is to be lost instead of what there is to be gained. Zero sum mentality. Distrustful of all.

5. Always asking for more people, more space and more equipment.

6. No burning desire to bring income in TODAY and produce profits now. Always explaining the reason losses are to be expected and why profits are delayed to the future

7. Always believing in delegation and exclaiming statements like "I am a people person".

8. A belief in top down management and chain of command.

9. A belief in standardization.

10. A belief in precise, lengthy, inflexible and extensive planning. Cannonball planning in cruise missile world.

11. A belief that the <5% of the world that makes up the domestic market is more important than the >95% of the world that makes up the export markets!

The right path....>Speed. Responsiveness. Independence. Excitement of challenge of work. Concentration on bringing value to the customer with a sense of urgency. Big companies get bogged down with internally competing agenda's . Middle management has not added value to most firms, and big companies are full of middle managers.

Every function in an organization needs to be evaluated "does it add value to the customer"? Is the customer going to be willing to pay for what YOU are doing, when he has the choice of the competitions product to buy.

Building networks of relations is all important. A company IS the relations it has with outsiders and insiders. Develop sources of the right information arriving at the right time. Learning on the go. Learn what you need to learn when you need to learn it, quickly.

Do not allow members of your organization to over complicate simple tasks! Get it done and get it done now! A blizzard of techno-babble from a bureaucrat aimed at enhancing their own status is not welcomed in a productive company.

Try to make the product better every day always spend part of the day on bringing in income now, part of the day on improving systems and infrastructure, part of the day learning and most important part of the day (or evening) on investments in future higher profit margin products.

All of the above in moderation are fine. It is in excess that it brews bureaucracy.

Written by Howard J. Leonhardt



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