Yesterday, replete with emoticons :-) I got an email forwarding to me my client's marketing "org charts." It was suggested I file these away for my reference.
I opened the attached powerpoint and expected to see three pages or maybe four. What I got were 25 pages (I'm not exaggerating) of everyone in their marketing organization and how they are connected to everyone else, all the way up to the cock of the walk, the CMO.
25 pages of org charts.
These charts arrived as if by magic on the eve of having to show three levels of clients a handful of rough cuts. Assuming that viewing goes well, we have another level of rough cuts showing on Monday and another one on Thursday.
We talk about gridlock in Washington. We bemoan the bureaucracy in institutions like the military and entities like the Department of Motor Vehicles.
But we replicate these bureaucracies in our own businesses.
Even our internal reviews are as onerous as a caravan across the Sahara or, better, the Bataan Death March.
I suppose what's happened is this. As manufacturing and agriculture jobs have disappeared, more and more people have found work in "management" and "administration."
That's fine. For the most part those are good-paying jobs.
But unfortunately, they are "make work." Really, can someone tell me what they do all day besides attend meetings and prepare for meetings. What do they do and think and make that makes a difference to the success of the organization.
It doesn't take 30 people to approve advertising. Or to write a presentation. Or critique a brochure no consumer will actually ever read.
It takes one.
But as a society we have embraced gridlock.
It keeps us busy.