If you’ve been keeping up with my recent columns, you’ll know our company is expanding and building new quarters. It’s a wonderful learning experience but one that has come with considerable challenges and I navigate the world of approvals, processes and bylaws that come with a construction project.

I’ve been given a crash course in dealing with the dreaded B-word: bureaucracy.

The dictionary (Google) defines bureaucracy as a system or hierarchy of overly-complicated administrative procedures. A common synonym for bureaucracy is “red tape”.

To be fair, bureaucratic processes are often in place for good reason. The anything-goes “Wild West” method of doing business is rarely a positive thing. But there can sometimes be too much emphasis put on following rules and procedures simply in the name of following rules and procedures.

In my experience as a business owner, the status quo is often left in place because people in a position to change the status quo don’t feel they have a reason to do so. There are a major reason for this, and it is a lack of interest in the work. When people don’t like their job that much, but simply continue to do it because they know it well, they often don’t do much to make processes more efficient or create new rules that better govern modern ways of doing things. As a business owner, I do my best to try and feel out when and if someone’s interest in their work is waning, and why. Often, there’s a lot an employer can do to rejuvenate that interest.

Employers can offer employees important incentives to do great work. Good wages and/or bonuses are one of them, but studies show that “extrinsic” motivators like more money don’t work nearly as well as “intrinsic” motivators like giving people a better sense of purpose within the organization. When an employee feels like they have a greater purpose and they’re not just a cog in the wheel, they can do great things.

I think if influencers in both private and public sector roles were more on the lookout for this, we could turn the dreaded B-word into something more positive. Imagine if bureaucracy became synonymous with efficiency and progressive ways of doing things. That’s the business environment I want to operate in!

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