Richard Maun – Organisational BS!

better business blog

Tips and stories to add value to you and your organisation


Organisational BS!

1 April 2019

Many years ago I decided that when people needed tools for work, in the factory I was running, they could take £50 from petty cash. Then they could pop to the local hardware shop, purchase said tool, return to base and get on with their work.

No signatures, or forms to complete. Just me trusting them that they wouldn’t take advantage. They didn’t. They just wanted to be productive, same as we all do.

Conversely, I know of an organisation where to buy a PC monitor you have to wait 6 months and complete a mountain of paperwork. A monitor will arrive, but will cost £600 more than the same item in the shop round the corner.

The same item you can buy on the day you need it. Cheaper and ready to use.

Of course the corner shop isn’t an approved supplier, nor will be. Items can only be purchased through head office. Which isn’t even in the same country.

This is, to me, an excellent example of organisational bullshit. It’s not like me to swear here, so apologies if you’ve learned a new word and are offended.

However, it’s good to say it straight sometimes. The working world is hard enough, without adding silly processes and systems to make it harder.

There’s often a good reason for having a process, and I’m all for an orderly workplace. And yet there are times when an organisation actively sabotages its own employees with needless red tape, or unfair working practices.

Staff become stressed, or they just give up and accept the status quo. Their productivity suffers and profits can slide as the organisation sub-optimises itself.

What a waste!

A lifetime ago, one of the first businesses I worked in had a clear company car policy. Cars had to be either Ford, Vauxhall or Rover and have 4 doors. No exceptions. Well, apart from the MD, who drove a 2-door Jaguar sports car, which was never used for transporting visitors. The MD would help himself to one of the Directors’ cars for that. What a lovely message of inequality to pass on to the workers.

I’ve never understood why junior sales people often end up with a low spec car, which they have to sit in all day, when the sales director has a massive 4×4 parked up all day.

And now we are heading for warmer weather it’s time for us men to wear shorts. Except mostly, we’re not allowed. Imagine the outcry if ladies were forced to wear long trousers all year round! Unthinkable!

Organisational BS comes in all shapes and sizes. Complex procedures, unfair purchasing decisions and a myriad of frustrations all add up to waste time and energy.

So, this week have fun spotting BS in your workplace. Find a gentle way to challenge it. Make a noise and ask exactly what the purpose is of something that makes no sense to you.

We can all name our frustrations and help our organisation to be more productive and more profitable.

Maybe we can all pop to the corner shop and buy what we need!

Next week: Happiness Through Autonomy


Click cover to view details on Amazon


Riding the Rocket

How to manage your Modern Career

Published 2013 Marshall Cavendish



Bouncing Back

How to get going again after a career setback

Published 2012 Marshall Cavendish



How to Keep Your Job

Brilliant ways to increase performance, stay employed and keep the money rolling in

Published 2011 Marshall Cavendish



Job Hunting 3.0

Secrets and skills to sell yourself effectively in the Modern Age

Published 2010 Marshall Cavendish



Leave the Bastards Behind

An insider's guide to working for yourself

Published 2007 Cyan Books and Marshall Cavendish



My Boss is a Bastard

Surviving turmoil at work

Published 2006 Cyan Books and Marshall Cavendish


© Richard Maun 2015 / Click here to contact