If you are a manager you know that challenges can be overcome by solid people and systems. Below is from the Exponent Leadership Process – Created to make you the reason people continue great work and stay with your company.


Does your organization have an excessive amount of steps needed to get approval or to even get work done. This is often referred to as “bureaucracy” and can quickly become abysmally restrictive and frustrating with feelings of;

  • Innovative work thrusts are inhibited.
  • “Stupid”rules applied by “Stupid” people.
  • Endless reference back and forth and up and down the Management Structure.
  • Rigidity in Decision-Making.
  • Planning & issues worked at too low a level.
  • Excessive ‘decentralization’ or ‘centralization’

It may operate like this image below;

  • For Mark to get any feedback on his work (Which has been assigned by his manager Sue) the information must be passed from Mark –> Anthony –> Samantha –> Julia –> back to Samantha –> again through Anthony –> finally through Sue –> then it gets back to Mark.

team building and ledership expert michael cardus

In this process Anthony, Samantha & Julia add NO VALUE to the process but rather;

  • Slow it down, and
  • Prevent direct interaction between Sue and Mark the real people who are accountable and have authority of the work.

I trust you are nodding your head because you can place yourself in Mark’s shoes. Once Mark has made any progress by the time he receives feedback or approval on the initial idea he very well may be completed with the task.

These extra steps delay progress and kill any innovative ideas that you have.

What can be done?

System-Drive-Behavior –> the system above drives a red-tape-worm behavior of finger pointing and pain-stakingly cumbersome decisions.

Shorten the communication to the people who have the authority and accountability. The real accountability for the goals set.

Team development expert michael cardus

Systems-Drive-Behavior –> In this new system the feedback is between Sue and Mark. The others may be (if needed) made aware of the choices and progress. This can happen in the information based meetings that Sue (Mark’s manager) has with the other managers. And Sue is the person who is accountable for Marks work and progress.

If at any point in the task assignment Mark is going to be;

  • Below Quality
  • Above Quality
  • Late on Delivery
  • Early on Delivery

He is to inform Sue immediately and with her Managerial Leadership accountability will make a choice of what to do.

By cutting out the excessive and un-needed communication Mark can drive innovation and implementation, because the feedback is immediate and by the person who is his direct manager.  

Lessons Learned;
  • Keep communication simple and with the Manager / Subordinate that have a reciprocal relationship of accountability and authority.
  • A manager must be able to add value to the work of immediate subordinates.
  • Innovation happens when people can work on tasks with quick and easy feedback from their direct manager.