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07/26/2013

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Ann - Great post, and all the points you raise are valid. That said, formalized structures and rules related to those structures can take on a life of their own, and create the seeds of a bureaucracy that can act like an anchor for a fast moving, rapid growth company.

In an entrepreneurial setting, rules tend to get ignored under certain circumstances. This can create the seeds of organizational dysfunction.

Without being overly dramatic, once bureaucracy and disfunction begin to exist it's hard to control; much like the Kudzu plant in the south, it's almost impossible to eradicate.

The challenge for Comp Pro's is to find a balance that offers some degree of structure while allowing maximum flexibility to meet exceptional organizational needs when they occur. This can be quite difficult, because its a fine line that separates one and the other.

John:

Sound points all. You're right, as with so many other things, finding the right amount of structure and rules is always a balancing act - with the balance point being unique to the particular culture, pressures and traditions of each organization.

Thanks for the comment!

It cuts both ways. Chaos and abuse can flow from ambiguous or completely discretionary programs. And sometimes the way supervisors have been unofficially empowered to disregard formal procedures and exercise managerial discretion has created tremendous good will for the enterprise.

A branch warehouse manager in a remote outstate location called for the corporate jet to rush an employee's father suffering a heart attack to a big city hospital with a very expensive low level flight (where cabin pressurization was not required). Did not seek permission but was praised by the CEO afterwards. Word flashed to every company location in the nation before the plane landed. The effect on morale, engagement and retention was dramatic and long-lasting.

Jim:

It can cut both ways. Interesting story and case in point. And certainly there are exceptional situations that demand exceptional treatment. Although if supervisors were able to earn tremendous good will by disregarding compensation structure and rules, unless it was truly exceptional, I would want to take another look at that set of structure and rules.

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