If leaders promise to reduce policy and process, then they must eliminate a good number of unnecessary forms and processes, otherwise the frontline will suffer a huge loss of morale.
An Apology First!
Excuse the language in the title! It is the name John Timpson; chairman of high street services provider Timpson gave the committee he has formed to get rid of unnecessary bureaucracy in his firm.
I was fascinated to learn from a recent newspaper article by him that his committee eliminated 245 unnecessary forms and processes, just in its first meeting!
The Determination to Reduce Red Tape
I sense there is a new determination to reduce bureaucracy in many organisations and businesses. We are coming out of two years of the COVID-19 pandemic when we suddenly found we could do without many policies and processes. Head office priorities was to keep the organisation and business going, not to spend endless hours measuring and micromanaging.
My own organisation is going through a reorganisation at present. The frontline has been assured they will be put first. As part of that, it has been promised that policies and processes that prevent the frontline from “flourishing” will be eliminated.
Following Through on Promises is Vital for Leaders
If leaders make that kind of promise, it is vital they follow through and eliminate as much unnecessary bureaucracy as possible. Why? Because if they don’t, frontline morale plummets. If the frontline is asked how they can be supported to take the initiative and be innovative, if they are asked how they can be freed from command and control to make their own decisions, if they are asked for ways in which the administrative burden can be taken away from them so they can focus on what the organisation wants to prioritise and the frontline engages with those questions, then not to follow through on those suggestions risks people simply giving up. What is the point if nothing changes? My view is clearly not valued by the organisation. How can I trust the organisation to work in my best interests?
The good news for organisations and businesses that keep their promises and “cut the c—” as John Timpson puts it, is that the frontline will feel more valued, productivity will be transformed, and trust will be built.
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