All businesses share the same basic objective – to make money. That’s pretty simple, but what enables that to happen? Business leaders focus on increasing revenue, decreasing costs, increasing efficiency, ensuring compliance with regulatory guidelines, and finding and exploiting any competitive advantages they have. Of all the above objectives, one of the easiest is to increase efficiency and remove inefficiencies. Most people hate bureaucracies – we see them when we look to the federal government, the DMV and, all too often, the very companies we work for. Bureaucracies make us feel powerless and unimportant. They beat us down with rules and restrictions that keep us from accomplishing our job. Bureaucracies are the very antithesis of efficiency. In your business, are policies and procedures intended to chain your employees down, or liberate them to do the work you pay them to do? Are your processes streamlined for the mission at hand, or dictated by bureaucrats above in such a way as to slow down your business? As businesses grow, they tend to become more rigid and bureaucratic – more layers of management, more company ‘yes men’ who won’t challenge the status quo, and more workers who show up and punch the clock instead of having any excitement for the mission of the organization. Ever work at a small businesses? The focus is always on overtaking the Goliath in the market. Policies and procedures that prevent that from happening are removed, workers are empowered to do their best. People have a shared sense of purpose, and often develop a feeling of family. What can we learn from these observations? First, if you’re a leader within a large organization, how can you remove red tape and empower your people? What do you need to do to ensure that your people are working at their best? Are you creating roadblocks to your employees’ work? Employees want to feel empowered – they want to feel that their leaders are on their side. They want the bureaucracy removed so they can do their best. Second, if you work in a small business, recognize that your lack of rigidity may be the single biggest competitive advantage you have. With no bureaucracy to hold you back, you can find the best way to accomplish the mission and execute without roadblocks. Empower your team to win and then step back and watch them achieve. As a small business, your best way to attack Goliath is through superior processes, quicker turn around, less paperwork, and having employees that feel empowered to accomplish the mission. No business owner ever said “I think the federal government would be a great model for how to run my business!” but that is exactly what happens to businesses all across our nation. It’s time to change that trend!