Breaking the Law of Bureaucracy Presented by Derek Huether (Zombie Project Manager)
Who am I?• Advisor to a Federal Government PMO• 15 years in the industry• Was a Startup Founder, then a Project Manager and Functional Manager• PMP + ScrumMaster = Zombie PM
Requirements1.You work for an organization2.You are a boss or have a bossOptional1.You know what a zombie is2.You know how to play Simon Says3.You know how to play Red Light Green Light4.You know about Star Trek (The Original)5.You have a tolerance for drawings in a slide deck
Defining the LawBreak Verb /brāk/Interrupt (a continuity, sequence, or course)Organization Noun /,ôrgəni’zāSHən/A social arrangement to distribute tasks for a collective goalBureaucracy Noun /byoräkrəsē/Excessively complicated administrative procedure, seen as characteristic of such a systemLaw Noun /lô/A thing regarded as having the binding force or effect of a formal system of rules Source: Google Dictionary
Defining the LawIn any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds ofpeople: those who work to further the actual goals of theorganization, and those who work for the organizationitself. What are some examples?
Example 1Teachers who work and sacrifice to teach children, versusunion representatives who work to protect any teacher(including the most incompetent)
Example 2In a business organization, those who work and sacrificeto bring value to the customer, versus those who work toprotect policy, process, and procedures(regardless of use or value)
Whats the Problem?The Law states that in all cases, the second type ofperson will always gain control of the organization,and will always write the rules under which theorganization functions.
It Begins with Ethical Leadership Source: Zombie Project Management Based on Domains of Ethical Theories from Leadership Theory and Practice
Ethical LeadershipZombie-ismWhen a zombie acts solely to feed itself. You can findzombies exhibiting this orientation at every level of anorganization. This zombie thinks that it is a leader of ahoard, but instead, it is a destructive force because itmakes no leadership decisions, good or bad. It merelyfeeds. It merely exists.
Ethical LeadershipEgoismWhen a person acts to create the greatest good forhimself or herself. You can find people exhibiting thisorientation at every level of an organization. When theorganization and its employees make decisions merelyto achieve individual goals (at the expense of others),they lose sight of a larger goal.
Ethical LeadershipUtilitarianismThe idea that the moral worth of an action is determinedsolely by its usefulness in maximizing utility orminimizing negative utility. The focus is to create thegreatest good for the greatest number of people.In Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Spock says, “logic clearly dictates that the needs of themany outweigh the needs of the few.”
Ethical LeadershipAltruismThe opposite of egoism, a person’s primary purpose is topromote the best interests of others. From thisperspective, a leader may be called on to act in theinterests of others, even when it runs contrary to his orher own self-interests.In Start Trek III: The Search for Spock, Captain Kirk says altruistically, ”Because the needsof the one… outweigh the needs of the many.”
Ethical LeadershipThe GoalThe goal is to lead from the bottom right of the graphwhenever possible. The more altruistic we are, thecloser we come to breaking the law of bureaucracy
One way to Break the Law 1970 essay by Robert K. Greenleaf titled The Servant as Leader
Servant-LeadershipServant leadership deals with the reality of power ineveryday life—its legitimacy, the ethical restraints uponit and the beneficial results that can be attainedthrough the appropriate use of power.—The New York Times
Let’s Play a GameGame: Simon Says (Modified)The Goal: Participants want to get from one side of the room to the next, viainstructions from me (Simon). Participant must be navigated around(moving) obstructions and while following Simon’s instructions. I will act asSimon.Game: Red Light Green Light (Modified)The Goal: Participants (cars) want to get from one side of the room to thenext, via self-direction and verbal input. I will act as the stoplight. Someonewill act as the obstructionist, who will block cars with whatever isavailable. The stoplight will converse with the cars during the game to helpthem reach the goal with minimal obstruction.
What Did We Learn From The Game?Game: Simon Says (Modified)This is top-down command and control at work. Sometimes, those who aregiving the direction (from the top) do not have goals that align with theorganizational goal. Leaders are either acting as a utilitarian, egoist, orzombie.Game: Red Light Green Light (Modified)This is bottom-up empowerment. Those who are actually doing the work justneed help to reach the goal. Leaders are acting as altruists or servant-leaderstry to help others reach their goals.
Characteristics of Servant-Leadership• Listening• Empathy• Healing• Awareness• Persuasion• Conceptualization• Foresight• Stewardship• Commitment to the growth of people• Building community
ListeningHave a deep commitment to listening intently to others.Seek to identify the will of a group and help clarifythat will. Seek to listen receptively to what is being said(and not said!).Listen; dont wait to talk
EmpathyThe servant-leader strives to understand and empathizewith others. People need to be accepted and recognizedfor their special and unique "qualities". One assumes thegood intentions of co-workers and does not reject themas people, even while refusing to accept their behavior orperformance.
HealingHeal yourself and others. Many people are "broken" andhave suffered from a variety of emotional "issues".Although this is a part of being human, servant-leadersrecognize that they have an opportunity to “help makewhole” those with whom they come in contact.
AwarenessFoster general awareness, and especially self-awareness,will aid one in understanding issues involving ethics andvalues. It lends itself to being able to view mostsituations from a more integrated, holistic position.
PersuasionRely on persuasion, rather than using positional authority,in making decisions within an organization. Seek toconvince others, rather than coerce compliance. Thisparticular element offers one of the clearestdistinctions between the traditional authoritarian modeland servant-leadership.
ConceptualizationBe a visionary. Look at a problem (or an organization)from a strategic perspective means that one mustthink beyond day-to-day realities. The traditional manageris focused on the need to achieve tactical operationalgoals. Start thinking more strategically and a balancebetween tactical and strategic thinking.
ForesightForeseeing the likely outcome of a situation is hard todefine, but easy to identify. Foresight is a characteristicthat enables you to understand the lessons learned fromyesterday, the realities of today, and thelikely consequence of a decision for tomorrow.
StewardshipHolding something in trust for the greater good. Assumefirst and foremost a commitment to serving the needs ofothers. Emphasize the use of openness and persuasionrather than control.
Commitment to the Growth of People(not like Soylent Green or The Matrix)Believe that people have an intrinsic value beyond theirtangible contributions as workers. Be deeply committedto the (personal and professional) growth of each andevery individual within your institution. Take a personalinterest in the ideas and suggestions from everyone,encouraging worker involvement in decision making.
Building CommunityIdentify some means for building community amongthose who work within a given institution or group.Community can be created among those who work inbusinesses and other institutions. Its all about culture.
Conclusion• It is about being altruistic• It is about inspiring, empowering, and motivating• Maybe we cant break the law, but we can bend it