Don’t get suckered into doing work for the machine when you could be working toward goals! A common business pitfall is serving bureaucracy over projects. It devastates productivity and enthusiasm and can creep into companies everywhere.

Luckily the warning signs are easy to spot. Your first early warning sign is when your leadership starts using pronouns to give out tasks instead of taking personal ownership. If you are doing work because “They” asked for it, sound the alarm!!

People rarely take ownership in a bureaucracy, we replace accountability with pronouns like They or We.

Winning teams need leaders willing to get behind process, procedures, and orders. Leaders willing to say “I” need this. Seeking responsibility because they understand the why behind the work.

Orders in the military come from somewhere, if you don’t know where they come from and why it applies to you it can lead to confusion or missed context. Both of which can be deadly on the battlefield.

Your office is not so different.

As organizations grow it is natural to add rules and policies. In fact It’s helpful to optimize efficiency, provide a uniform and succinct brand, and create culture that differentiates you from the competition. Just don’t let it become an anchor, you know that thing below the water that you holds you in place, drags you down and no one can actually see.

“They need it done”, “It was like that when we got here”, “That’s the way we do things”, “It is, what it is”.

Please stop, most of these phrases are just nonsense.

Leaders, be responsible for pulling out the weeds that clog up the system. If you don’t know the “Why” of a rule, look it up, make sure it still applies. Check the source, seek to understand. And then take ownership of enforcing it.

Companies don’t operate in a static, frozen market. They are constantly adapting to meet new client and consumer demands. Resist the siren’s song of comfort and safety blindly following everything “they” need doing without actually checking to see if it makes sense?

“I need this,” can help change an environment. Leaders take accountability.

Get in there, challenge convention a little. After all, “They” can put cover sheets on their own TPS reports. You’ve got real work to do.

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