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Bureaucracy: Who needs competition

2011: The world is extremely competitive. New entrants attack old entrants, existing players getting stonger. New entrants do crazy things, like not even wanting to make a profit from the segment, but rather just cause confusion so that everyones eyes are diverted from their real efforts elsewhere.

But then you get my pet hate, apathy and bureaucracy!  Forget that you may have better offerings than your competitors or that your relative market position appears to be strong and I have even observed this behavior when one region of a company is far out performing another, and this demon is allowed through the door.

It occurs frequently in larger organizations, but it is the managements responsibility to see the warning signs and step in to avert tragedy. Especially when a company is successful, it can quite easily allow itself to become caught up in red tape worse than the most ineffective government department.

And what is the root cause?

Egos and powerplay. It is that simple. In order to subvert the masses, dictators frequently fall back on the same recipe:
  • Fear
  • Lethargy
  • Complex procedures that no one can understand
  • Frustrating you until you lose interest
  • Political spider webs
The first to suffer from this will be your trade partners/customers, but the knock on effect will reduce your workforce that you will only be left with those bureaucrats that cause the red tape to begin with. Your good people will have left already.

In order to ensure you are not a victim, take open honest feedback from employees even if it has to be anonymous. Be careful not to surround yourself with a sponge, otherwise what is put in the one side is filtered before you get it; in other words watch out for power-play groups that form, or internal persons/structures assuming authority that is not theirs to take.

But more important listen to your customer, walk a mile in their shoes, walk the talk. Whatever cliche you want to use, but irrespective of your market position or dominance, get up and listen to your customer, without them you are nothing!

At the end of the day, bureaucracy will kill you off, with zero investment or effort from your competitors.

[Grant Marais]

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