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No Talent, No Problem: Become a Big Company Bureaucrat

Everyone working or doing business with large enterprises at some point have run against the frustrating bureaucracy reigning in those environments. This type of bureaucracy is an inherent aspect of big organizations but I’ve also been surprised of encountering a few startups launched by people with big company background which amazingly presents the same frustrating levels of bureaucracy.

Seeing that phenomenon has made me realize how much bureaucracy is not only a product or big company environments but also a consequence of hiring people with “bureaucratic DNA” ;)   At the end of the day, a lot of times bureaucracy is a mechanism created by people with no real talent in order to survive in a company environment.

How to spot a big company bureaucrat?

If you are working in a big company you already know who those guys are. If not, just look around for some of the following characteristics:

  • They want control but have no idea what to do with it: Bureaucrats demand and fight for control all the time because it makes them feel important. However, when granted control over a specific situation, they have no idea how to make effective decisions.
  • They have no real talent: You wonder who these people bribed to get to their position ;) Big company bureaucrats bring little or no marketable talent and instrument complex processes to hide that fact in the eyes of their colleagues.
  • They manage by fear: When in management positions, big company bureaucrats constantly inspire fear to their subordinates. This is just about the only way they know how to manage a team because fear is the only thing that makes them feel in control.
  • They can’t make a decision without calling a meeting: Making decisions entails taking risks and big company bureaucrats are adverse to risks; so what do they do? They call meetings to make other people responsible for the decision.
  • They call meetings for everything: Big company bureaucrats not only call meetings to get consensus about decisions but they call meetings for everything. Meetings makes bureaucrats appear busy in the eyes of their colleagues and, at the end, they have nothing better to do.
  • Everything is a crisis: Big company bureaucrats feel comfortable in crisis environments because they don’t know how to discriminate real important decisions from average ones. Besides, crisis offers bureaucrats the feeling of being in control that they so desperately need.

What do you think? Do you live surrounded by big company bureaucrats?

 
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Posted by on March 26, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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A Recipe for Failure: Big Egos and Mediocre Talent

A lot has been written about how big egos are one of the most harmful aspects in teams and companies. Typically, people associate big egos with individualisms, selfishness and all sorts of other elements of not team players. In my experience, the truth is a little more complicated than that.

While I agree that big egos can almost always be somewhat harmful to team dynamics, I think they can be used as a catalyzer for many aspects of the team if they are backed by the right level of talent and accomplishment. On the other hand, I’ve always find that the most harmful and vicious type of big-egos are the ones coming from mediocrely talented and not accomplished people.

My reasoning here is very simple: For the most part, talented and accomplished people have high aspirations and don’t get let their egos get on the way of small things that might impede them to accomplish great things (that can in turn bust their egos even more J ). Under the right conditions, highly talented folks can use their egos as a motivator and drive the rest of the team with them.

Contrary to this group, you will often encounter people that are not very talented, haven’t built or accomplished anything worth talking about in life but still manage to nurture a big ego related to some minor achievements that, sometimes, are relevant to people that share their same limited vision of the world. I find these types of people the most harmful in a team environment. As anyone with big egos, the mediocrely-talented folks would love to be successful and accomplished but lack the talent or vision to do achieve that by themselves and also the character to rely on more talented people to lead them. Instead, mediocrely-talented people operate in a sort of small distortion field and always try to drive attention to themselves related to not important things.

If you are working on a team environment, you are likely to easy identity the mediocrely-talented people with big egos. They are the ones arguing about the non-important things and constantly highlighting how hard they are working on that problem that nobody cares about. They are the people that think that everyone else around them is an idiot but still can’t manage to deliver anything great and always have someone else to blame for their failures (most likely the rest of the team). I’ve certainly encountered a few of those in my professional career and so have you.

Whether you are building a business or delivering a great project that you care about, my advice would be to, without hesitation, get rid of the mediocrely-talented big egos around you. They will only cause harm and, like any other mediocre soul, they will always find pleasure working on some other non-important thing that they can take all the credit for.

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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