Avoid distractions from Benevolent Bureaucrats

Climbing wallWe’ve written much about Bureaucratic Black Belts, those defenders of the status quo who try to stop rebels from achieving change.  But there’s another type of person at work who can slow you and your project down too, The Benevolent Bureaucrat.

These kinder, gentler bureaucrats tend to be people who see that your change idea is becoming a Big Deal with senior leadership and want to be associated with the Big Deal in some way. Yet they don’t know enough about your initiative to provide substantive value so they pick on small things.

For example, HR may step in and say that to succeed you should use their new interactive training methodology and world class learning platform. Or the former journalist in the marketing department may nit pick language describing the initiative. “Is this really the right word to describe what you’re trying to achieve?” Or the IT people want more meetings to discuss how to establish baseline Intranet analytics so that the program measurement will be as accurate as possible.

Before long a rebel is stuck in bureaucratic meetings that can slow the project progress WAY down.

What to do?

Ask people for to give you their recommendations in writing by a certain date, the sooner the better so that you can stay on track and focus on the most important next steps for  advancing your initiative. Often they’ll miss the deadline.

Thank them for their ideas and tell them you’ll circle back to them when you think the timing is right to focus on training or wordsmithing or analytics.

By all means keep going. Don’t let the Benevolent Bureaucrats’ desire to be somehow involved slow you down.

Your success is about achieving results important to your organization  Going to unnecessary meetings with nice people whose ideas aren’t especially relevant slows down the time to success and results.

Comments

  1. Rob H says:

    Wow – what a revelation. I am pretty sure I’ve been that guy a time or two, unfortunately. Recognizing when you are becoming the benevolent bureaucrat is probably just as important as knowing when to avoid them.

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