As entrepreneurs we place a great deal of value on flexibility, creativity and efficiency. We thrive on developing new ideas and managing risk. Our fires are stoked when we find ourselves in situations where we must be quick and nimble. We succeed because we are positive, optimistic and passionate, and because we persevere. So what could possibly rain on our parade?
Bureaucracy is the enemy of entrepreneurship and innovation. It doesn’t matter if it’s government bureaucracy or corporate bureaucracy – both are stifling and unrelenting. We entrepreneurs are in a constant struggle with bureaucracy and our frustration grows by the day. Bureaucracies are inflexible, inefficient and slothful. While entrepreneurship is a dream catcher, bureaucracies are dream-killers. So what is an entrepreneur to do?
Government bureaucracy is a subject unto itself. Entrepreneurs can do two things to combat government bureaucracies. One is to figure out how to maneuver and work-around them. I’ve made the mistake of trying to fight government bureaucracy in the past and it was always a losing battle – primarily because they have no accountability. Rather than fight, we can choose to become innovative involving not only our business initiatives, but also in the way we interact with a government bureaucracy. And of course the other thing we can do is support political candidates who believe in streamlining and/or eliminating bureaucracies.
Corporate bureaucracy is almost as maddening as the government variety. They generally exist as a result of the implementation of systems and processes that are cobbled together over an extended period of time. Many corporate bureaucracies are never intended to be so. They simply evolve. In the absence of a well-defined strategy a vacuum exists. Business people tend to do a lot of “firefighting,” constantly reacting to issues that are presented on a daily basis. The sum total of this reactionary approach to doing business; the vacuum that is present with the absence of a strategy, and the hodge-podge of solutions that are produced, equals a greater and greater entrenched bureaucracy. Conversely, a well-thought corporate vision wrapped in strong strategy and precision tactics, does not allow this vacuum to see the light of day.
To ensure that innovation and entrepreneurship flourish we must focus on creating a roadmap that is clearly defined for everyone on our team. When we see “firefighting” beginning to occur this is our danger signal that bureaucracy will ensue. This is our opportunity to step back and re-examine our vision and our strategy. It’s a time when we can tweak and modify our operations to be totally aligned with our entrepreneurial spirit.
For the sake of our customers, our team members and everyone who comes into contact with our enterprise, it should be our goal to avoid the establishment of bureaucracy at all costs. When we succeed, we’ll enjoy an abundance of happy customers, happy team members and prosperity at all levels.
This blog is being written in tandem with my book, “An Entrepreneur’s Words to Live By,” available on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle (My Book), as well as being available in all of the other major eBook formats.
Lee Your delineation of the two main bureaucratic barriers for entrepreneurs is very on point to me. We all, at one time or another, have experienced them. Are there any examples of either that you could expand upon?