No Talent, No Problem: Become a Big Company Bureaucrat

26 Mar

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?


Posted by on March 26, 2013 in Uncategorized


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2 responses to “No Talent, No Problem: Become a Big Company Bureaucrat

  1. wtpayne

    March 26, 2013 at 10:04 am

    Yup, that is why I wanted to start a company with a charter that restricts the number of staff to (approximately) that of a football team. If you want to take on a bigger job that needs more people, split the company in two, and the owners get a chunk of each. That way, each resulting company remains small and (in theory) nimble, and the owners get a gradually diversifying portfolio.

  2. Kurt Miller

    March 26, 2013 at 11:42 am

    One more point: once the incompetent bureaucrat realizes that his incompetences have been discovered by a competent bureaucrat, he will often act traitorously to eliminate the competent one. Once a deceiver always a deceiver.


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