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Pirated fresh from a competing organization, I’m shocked to learn that our management imposes unreasonable rules like the approval by at least three managers on simple things like a one-day employee vacation leave and purchase of P200 worth of office supplies with the whole process taking a three-day average. The trouble is that my being a new employee and a minor cog in the hierarchy is what’s preventing me from rocking the boat. Is there a way out? – Waiting Game.
A department store floor manager noticed a young boy staring intently at the handrail of an escalator. The manager walked over to him and asked, “Son, are you alright?” The boy nodded “yes” without bothering to look up.
“Can I help you?” the manager asked the boy. The boy shook his head “no” and continued to look at the handrail. “Well, young man, do you want me to explain to you how escalators work?” The lad replied: “Thanks, Mister. But I’m just waiting for my bubble gum to come back!”
Let’s face it. Requiring too many management signatures in one document is only one example of how procedures can just keep on going on and on, most of the time, resulting in an unnecessary expenditure of time and other resources. Even if you go paperless, the same delay could happen if your management insists that email and soft copy of documents pass through a series of review.
If your management cares to think of it -- some administrative activities are not worth the time they take even if they bring in some additional revenue. Your bosses may not be aware of it but an analysis of these activities, if not corrected, can lead to an extreme paralysis of the whole organization.
Take the case of Globe Telecom. Recently, I had the opportunity of learning the “DUMBest Thing Program” that empowers Globe’s employees to be “more outspoken” against management “requirements, processes, forms that (they) continue to do or use” like requiring a 16-page report instead of a one-page summary or changing the requirement of having five signatories reduced to only one.
In this program, all Globe employees are requested to send in their suggestions “highlighting all the things that are difficult to do or comply with” or ideas that could make the whole process “better or more logical.”
Globe is applying the principles of Lean and Six Sigma to help their employees, regardless of their rank, to identify and analyse corporate logistical costs, including how to debug the delays in processing customer orders and making adjustment decisions faster.
I’m sure that this approach is not the exclusive domain of Globe. There could an equivalent of this program in many companies out there, including those of PLDT and Smart, and regardless of one’s business, like of course Toyota, where many employee suggestion schemes are developed, tried, and time-tested.
As you’ve admitted, how could a “minor cog” like you move heaven and earth to bust the corporate bureaucracy? You should talk to your immediate boss about it. Explore ways on how to ventilate your views. Somehow, no matter how centralized your government is – they are reasonable people who could see the light in the way you presented it – “simple things” like having numerous signatures in one transaction could be resolved if the stakes are small.
Find out if your organization has a similar employee empowerment program like what they’re offering at Globe. If none, then volunteer to research an appropriate program that will best suit the corporate culture, even if it’s not part of your job description.
Talking and defending your ideas is a big opportunity for you. It’s one chance where big bosses will form a positive opinion about you. If you are not enthusiastic, no one is going to be enthusiastic for you. Without you knowing it, you can be a dose of fresh air to that organization.
Unless your top dog is a shade of Bill Gates who is reportedly earning $250 per second or about $20 million a day or $7.8 billion a year - that if he drops a thousand dollars, he won’t even bother to pick it up because the four seconds he consumes in picking it up, he would’ve already earned it back - then this advice is not for you.
CHALLENGED? This article is for non-management people who can’t raise an issue directly to his/her boss for fear of reprisal or insecurity. If you’re part of management who has an opposing or supporting view, then send us your position by citing your own experience or any published material by a management expert to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Rey Elbo for his random management thoughts on Facebook and Twitter.
InterAksyon.com means BUSINESS