Neil Tambe

I'm a Detroiter who happens to enjoy writing, national parks, orange juice, the performing arts, and fanciful socks. More than anything though, I aspire to be a good husband, father, and citizen.

My $3 Trillion Mission

I don't like bureaucracy. As an employee it's oppressive and as a manager it's stifling and frustrating. Perhaps there's a time and place for bureaucracy - when control needs to be the top priority of an organization - but in the vast majority of situations, bureaucracy doesn't make sense.

What Gary Hamel and Michele Zanini figured out is that bureaucracy is also expensive. In a paper they published, they estimated that bureaucracy costs the US economy $3 Trillion dollars a year. For businesses, getting rid of bureaucratic management means more profits. For cities and governments, getting rid of bureaucratic management means more jobs - assuming that gains are reinvested in job creation. For people, getting rid of bureaucratic management means better and cheaper products and services.

The potential gains from choosing an alternative management style to bureaucracy are enormous. It's my mission to imagine those alternatives and bring them to life.

For me, the stakes are higher than just financial gains. I think about how so much of the reason people hate their jobs is because of how their companies are managed. People take that stress home to their families and it has real effects on their well-being. I think about how bureaucracy wastes so much of our country's talent. We could have so many more life-changing inventions and innovations if organizations used management styles that unleashed people's talent instead of letting bureaucratic management degrade their talent.

We can choose alternatives to bureaucracy, and our world would be better off if we did. I mentioned before that it's my mission to imagine alternatives to bureaucracy and bring them to life. I'm not the only one, there are management thinkers, company executives, and other influential people who are going to the mat for this fight. 

But it's not just powerful people who can make a difference in this. Imagine if each one of us did something different on our own teams to make them less bureaucratic. Each one of us can challenge the status quo in our own organizations, whether it's by doing something to communicate across silos, or by giving our front-line colleagues the authority to make just one decision currently made by a manager.

We can all be a part of bringing alternatives to bureaucracy to life. And we should.


Exciting news, I'm starting to podcast my blog posts! You can listen to episodes here (below) or subscribe to the podcast in the iTunes store.