One good thing about the last couple of years was that the red tape had to be cut. Organisations had to react to the emerging challenges that the Covid pandemic created and there was no time for bureaucracy. It seems some have returned to their old ways though and the return of the red tape is stifling all the progress they made…
In reaction to the initial lockdowns, both Public and Private sector organisations had to adapt to having a decentralised workforce. Being able to provide the capability for entire departments or whole organisations to work remotely in a very short period of time, meant that the ‘traditional’ ways of deploying products and technology had to change.
These were compelling times some organisations as it meant deploythousands of new devices, Windows 10 and Teams in a matter of weeks as opposed to a phased rollout of 6-12 months. To other organisations, like the Government Vaccine response team, this meant getting industry competitors working together for a single cause.
As a country we achieved a tremendous amount; what would have taken months or years, took significantly less time by changing our behaviours, the ways of working, becoming a little more risk adverse or simply by throwing the rulebook out of the window. Indeed, we were in uncharted territory.
Inefficient process and bureaucracy were bypassed or discarded to drive for the greater good; decision making processes were shortened driving responsibility into the right places; and we all became a little less risk adverse to get the job done. To some organisations this felt like being out of control, however in the majority of cases the desired outcome was achieved. (Not without a lot of blood, sweat and tears mind you!)
We now have a light at the end of the tunnel, however as we start to focus on the ‘new normal’ which is continuing to improve our ways of working, we also need to learn from the changes made in those dark days. Now is the time for organisations to adopt the changes made in behaviour; keep that agile way of thinking. Remove the red tape on a permanent basis.
As we have noticed this isn’t easy, as human nature has a way of ‘snapping’ back to ingrained behaviours. Organisations need to review and celebrate what they achieved, set a new way of operating which cuts the red tape, keeps processes clean of bureaucracy and ideally analyse how risk adverse they need to be.
Sadly, it seems some organisations, particularly in the public sector are failing to learn from their own successes, skipping back into a bureaucratic system that thwarts progress and diminishes the gains that have been made.
Some companies have adopted the new methods, other organisations still need to act whilst they still can. Review and adopt those ways of working. Keep the cultural and behaviour changes that kept the country running during adverse times. Don’t let the red tape back in.
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