Home Concepts Decison Making & Problem Solving Bureaucracy, Sludge and Human Energy

Bureaucracy, Sludge and Human Energy

3 min read

Copyright @ July 2013


Unbridled bureaucracy turns human energy into sludge.

No matter how well intentioned or useful, bureaucracy comes with rules, monitoring and arbitrary authority that encourages people to think only what they are paid to think.  Some become thoughtless agents that turn the company into a machine instead of doing the right thing at the right time.

People, like horses, perform much better if they are willing partners rather than obedient participants. Monty Robert’s is the Horse Whisperer.  At the heart of his gentle, effective method is the belief that with “trust”, a horse will trust you, and that with listening, you spark motivation.   Roberts says, “For centuries, humans have said to horses, ‘You do what I tell you or I’ll hurt you.’ Humans still say that to each other – still threaten, force and intimidate. …. Robert’s is saying that no one else has the right to say ‘you must’ to an animal – or to another human.”

Perhaps, that’s why no one writes poems or love songs about corporations or agencies.

A Parable

Imagine that you are a cat and you are a middle manager in a big company.

“The cat (you) is placed in a box, together with a radioactive atom. If the atom decays, a hammer kills the cat; if the atom doesn’t decay, the cat lives. As the atom is considered to be in either state before the observer opens the box, the cat must thus be considered to be simultaneously dead and alive.” From Steve Martin based on Edwin Schrodinger’s Cat Paradox(1935)

A paradox is a statement that seems contradictory or absurd but in reality expresses a possible truth. For example;

The Catch-22 Paradox. “A situation where someone is in need of something that can only be had by not being in need of it.”

The Hofstader’s Law Paradox.  “Hofstader’s Law is that everything takes longer than you expect even when you consider Hofstader’s Law.”

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