Can everyone find permit A 38 in your organisation or do they get stuck in red tape?

January 18, 2018

A couple of weeks ago I had a wardrobe declutter and after a few hours of asking myself “will I ever fit into that skirt again?” and “what was I thinking when I bought those trousers?” I sat down to admire a lovely newly organised rail of clothes and 2 full bags ready to take to the charity shop – quite a satisfying feeling getting rid of the growing accumulation of unnecessary stuff I was clinging on to!

Just in the same way as we can tend to collect stuff in our houses that makes our shelves and cupboards groan, organisations can also collect processes if they are not careful, that can eventually result in clogging up the business and the people that work in it too.

Now don’t get me wrong, process is good, process helps us to know where we are, what we have achieved and what’s left to do. But just like my wardrobe with its tangled mess of hangers and badly hung dresses, sometimes old processes get added to, along with more and more new processes introduced and we can end up in a jumble of processes that are hindering what we were trying to achieve in the first place.

This reminded me of an Asterix cartoon, The 12 tasks of Asterix. One of the tasks is called “Find Permit A 38 in “The Place That Sends You Mad”. Now the plot of the story is pretty much in the title here, basically Asterix finds himself in a seemingly never-ending pursuit of trying to complete and submit a form, but is hindered at every stage by red tape and bureaucracy.

I won’t spoil the ending for you, so if you have the time I’m sure you can find it on YouTube to see if Asterix finally finds permit A 38, but it is a good reminder as to why it’s important to consider having a healthy balance between effectiveness and efficiency in the processes within our organisations.

And back to my wardrobe declutter at the start of my article, how having a good clear out of process every now and again can be a great thing too!

Later this month we will be holding a round table event here at The Institute for Organisational Development where we will be focusing on the topic of process. If you’d like to join us click here or email and join in the conversation about how process works in your organisation.

Rosanna James

OD Consultant

The Institute for Organisational Development for People, Performance & Organisational Development





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