Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Fighting Bureaucracy Starts with Fighting Fairness

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Fighting Bureaucracy Starts with Fighting Fairness

Article excerpt

In 1988, when the Soviet Union was still the Soviet Union, a man named Vladimir Kabaidze, who headed a major factory near Moscow, told the attendees of the Communist Party conference, "I can't stand this proliferation of paperwork. It's useless to fight the forms. You've got to kill the people producing them."

Comrade Kabaidze's charming suggestion popped into my mind as I listened to Craig Cantoni describe one corporate policy manual as "something straight out of the old Soviet Union."

Craig "Does This Make Sense?" Cantoni is a former Hunan Resources executive who left corporate life to be a professional bureaucracy buster (at Capstone Consulting in Scottsdale, Ariz.). I invite you to put your feet up, kick off your stereotypes, and come along on a tour of the most interesting human resources mind in the country:

What do you think of corporate dress codes?

They're insulting.

How about job descriptions?

If you want to limit people, that's a good way to start.

How about corporate policies in general?

Let's start by understanding how they come about. Start-up companies rarely have policies - no bureaucracy of any kind. They're chaotic. They have real customers - the customers aren't an abstraction, they're real people. No job boundaries. And instead of a policy manual, they have the example of the entrepreneur who runs the place. The company is growing and everybody is energized. But then, as the business matures, at some point the bureaucracy grows faster than the company. So just when things are going great, unbeknownst to anyone, the company has begun to die.

Any warning signs?

Fairness. Consistency.


Nobody sets out to make a company bureaucratic, they set out to make it fair. Here's an example: A company begins to move in employment from other cities. It occurs to someone that these "relocations" ought to be thought through. …

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