How process becomes bureaucratic

I studied the downfall of the Big 3 from the automotive industry back in the late 2000s.  This included the companies GM, Ford and Chrysler.

The company that got most of the bad press was also the biggest – General Motors.

One story I remember from back then was using the unfortunate design of their corporate headquarters to point to an obvious sign of problems elsewhere.

GM’s corporate HQ consists of multiple large buildings that are right next to each other, but not well connected.  Here’s an image from wikipedia so you can see what I mean.

People picked up on the fact that GM had many large buildings that weren’t well connected as the perfect analogy as to what they had become – a slow, inefficient, bureaucratic mess.

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Reporters would share that it could take up to 30 minutes to get something from one building to the next even though they were right next to each other.  Repeat this hundreds or thousands of times a day and it starts to get VERY expensive.

Without even realizing it, GM has built something very expensive and clumsy that handcuffed them in a MAJOR way.  Since we’re talking about buildings and the design of an entire campus, it wasn’t something that could be easily fixed either…ouch.

The point is that your processes can become inefficient and ineffective right before your eyes if you’re not careful.  Don’t let it happen to you.  You need a mindset that is constantly on the lookout for how you can improve.

As has been said – “complacency is the enemy of progress”

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