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ISBN 9781595620545 Published Aug. 23, 2011
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The greatest threat to an organization’s success is not always the
competition. Often, it is what a company does to itself. Because of
fear, companies become plagued with barriers and bureaucracy that limit
success, crush employees, and infuse frustration and a sense of futility
across the enterprise. It starts with a narrowing of focus, which
leads to the first level of bureaucracy: parochialism. Parochialism
exists when managers and departments begin to view the world through the
filter of their own little silo, and build walls make of rules and
policies to protect their turf. As businesses grow and become more
complex, the second level of bureaucracy is reached: territorialism.
While parochialism is about protecting a department from outsiders,
territorialism is about controlling those inside the silo. The third
and final level of bureaucracy is empire building, which is a response
to perceived threats to a department’s ability to be self-sufficient.
These barriers cost organizations a fortune in inefficiency, turnover,
waste, and demoralization.
Tearing down these barriers is difficult, but it can be done. Parochialism can be eliminated by resetting rules and policies, and refocusing on the ultimate mission of the organization. Territorialism can be eliminated by creating true empowerment, along with appropriate levels of accountability. Empire building can be addressed through shared goals and a set of guiding principles to help act as a referee in decision making.
But that’s not enough. Managers must also create a culture of courage, to enable employees to take advantage of these new freedoms and accountabilities. Courage killers must be rooted out, and dealt with swiftly and strongly. Finally, leadership must refocus on mission success rather than just checking off their part of the process, manage reference points, and engage employees.
By doing all of these things, an organization can become fearless, and unstoppable.
Tagged: Business, Economics, Finance
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