He said that in any business with more than 50 employees, there were two "killers" that had to be rooted out.
Bureaucracy and Office Politics.
Bureaucracy can often be invisible in an organisation that's growing because it's
never one big thing but death by a thousand cuts; it's the small things that can suck the life out of a business.
All business needs systems and processes, but over time or through a change in the market, some come become obsolete. Systems and processes are there to ensure that everyone knows what they are doing and to speed up the service to customers.
If they don't do that or contribute to that, then they have to go.
But some people have a healthy (or unhealthy) attraction for certain formalities.
There is the case of a manager in a firm who sent out a memo outlining how all memos should be written. All employees had to follow an exact format, font size and font style and the position of the employee in the firm determined the size of font they could use; 10 point for paralegals and trainees, 11 point for solicitors and 12 point for partners.
When another memo went out a few weeks later insisting on a uniform desk code, only four items on a desk at any one time - phone on the right and so on it was time to call a halt.
These proposed "procedures" did not contribute to or speed up the customers experience, they were far too inward looking and only served to annoy employees.
If bureaucracy can be a serious nuisance, it's usually just overly enthusiastic OCD sufferers who just need to be reminded of the purpose of the business; but office politicians are much worse.
They are people who hold bad and destructive ideas about how to get ahead. If they are not rooted out of a business they can destroy it.
Bureaucracy is a curable illness but politics is like cancer. Bad enough in one place but if it's allowed to spread it can be terminal.
As someone who's been self-employed for the majority of his adult working life I have a difficulty accepting any kind of office political activity. Probably because it's rooted in power and power corrupts.
Not all "politicians" are nasty, some are just plain naive.
If your idea of doing good is based on holding power over someone else then that is just nasty or naive.
Politics is the complete opposite of business and in almost every other area it's inferior. Politics and business should have the same aims and that is to make life or the world a better place, but the way they go about it is very different.
Politicians can't do any good until they get power. Businesses can't make any profit until they do good.
If in your firm you happen to be right about your ideas for making the business a
better pace through innovative ideas that make the customer experience better and quicker then you are rewarded with customers paying you more money. That money trickles down through the business paying off your operating costs, wages and expenses and ending up as profit which is the only true indicator of customer joy.
Profits are a measurable indication of the good that your firm is doing.
That's why profit is so vital in any business; it forces everyone to pay attention
to the ultimate purpose of the business.
Not bureaucracy or office politics but providing benefit to the customers.