Things slow down, clog up, and stop at bottlenecks. In organizations, bottlenecks can lead to delays, low morale, and customer service failure. The thing about bottlenecks is that they are usually found both at the tops of bottles and organizations.
Leaders failing to take action on projects, make decisions on approvals, or to complete necessary reports are all potential organizational bottlenecks. Bottlenecks can also result from poor procedures or other legacy bureaucratic procedures. Bottlenecks diminish the organization by stacking unnecessary delays, increasing stress of subordinates, and reducing employee confidence. Leaders need to always be evaluating organizational processes and their own procrastinating behaviors to eliminate potential bottlenecks.
If you are the victim of a bottleneck, Edwin Bliss in his timeless book Getting Things Done recommends:
- Continuing to respectfully remind, cajole, and give hints to your supervisor
- Using positive reinforcement and thanking people when they do move into action
- Searching for alternate ways to accomplish the task
If you are a leader then you have probably both caused bottlenecks and been the victim of them. Awareness is the first step to reducing their harmful effects from the organization.
Share you other suggestions with me on Twitter for reducing organizational bottlenecks.