Ever have an idea that will revolutionize a process? Some of you will know what I’m talking about. You’re innovators.
In business, we need innovators and visionaries to come up with the crazy ideas that just might work. But, innovators need to understand that they can’t do this alone. You also need executers.
Good intentions, without good follow through, get in the way of a good thing. There are a million sayings to go along with that sentiment.
Just this week, Harvard Business Review published an article by Gary Hamel and Michele Zanini called, “Excess Management Is Costing the U.S. $3 Trillion Per Year.”
The authors build the case that America has a problem with bureaucracy in the workplace. We have too many managers and not enough workers. And, all of those managers aren’t producing; they’re too busy managing other people.
The authors go on to argue that half of all that time people spent managing others isn’t adding to the company’s bottom line. It seems, according to this article, that in some cases, we’re top heavy in management.
At the Tourism Leadership Council, we guard against this very closely. As a privately-funded, non-profit organization, we don’t have the luxury of having too many people.
When I took the helm of this organization, my right-hand-man Molly Swagler and I took a personality test geared to the workplace called StrengthsFinder. It identifies the strengths of an individual. We found that we shared many strengths, which made for a good partnership in terms of seeing a situation from the same perspective.
However, the test also revealed we needed to recruit people who possessed certain skill sets that we did not have. We needed to round out our team with people who had different gifts. Ever since then, we have required new employees to take the test.
It’s paid off for us. We’re lean and fluid and come up with innovative ideas. We test those ideas internally and externally amongst a diverse set of strengths. Then, when we set out to execute those ideas, we set the end goal and let the team figure out the best way to get there.
The writers of the Harvard Business Review article offer that as a solution to an over-bureaucratic workplace.
They say to empower your workforce and quit paralyzing people by process. “More freedom and responsibility would mean more initiative, innovation, and institutional flexibility — which would further boost productivity.”
Maybe there’s a way you can empower your team, so that you can avoid the workplace bureaucracy – and move beyond the good intentions that go nowhere.
Michael Owens is president/CEO of the Tourism Leadership Council, the largest non-profit trade organization that supports and represents the tourism community. Contact Owens at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 912-232-1223.