No one is a fan of bureaucracy and red tape (that is, except for bureaucrats and tape manufacturers). But too often, systems which have been put in place to help us end up taking away from the project at hand.
The United Nations Security Council has a phrase which they occasionally tag onto the end of resolutions, that the council “decides to remain seized of the matter.” The reflexive response to a convoluted phrase like that is, “huh?” But it’s a way for council to say they’re not quite done with it, so you can’t use it yet.
Think of a sibling who is obviously done playing with a toy or a coworker who is clearly not using their stapler. When you ask to use it, they decline saying they’re not done yet.
How does this sort of behavior present itself in your life? How often are you ready to move forward on a project, only to hear the issue is still in committee or a signature has yet to be inked? Does your ability to work “remain seized” by individuals who have no real understanding of the task at hand? And how often are you the one who is “seizing,” keeping others from getting the job done?
To be clear, there is a place for protocol. A business cannot succeed if it’s run as a disorganized mob. But efficiency is lost when tied up in red tape.
So work closely with your team – both your supervisors and those you oversee – to discuss the issue from time to time. Work out ways to streamline any processes you can, and if there seems to be a common hitch in the program, address it. More often than not, issues of that nature are nothing more than misunderstandings. Separate departments are usually unaware of another department’s procedure, and therefore don’t know they’re duplicating steps, preventing progress, or complicating things.
Open and frank discussion will help to avoid any and all projects from being seized, allowing your business to move forward and excel.