Summary of How Too Many Rules at Work Keep You from Getting Things Done

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How Too Many Rules at Work Keep You from Getting Things Done summary
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Business experts love the mantra “what gets measured gets done.” But at what expense? According to consultant Yves Morieux, metrics, management layers and processes in the quest for clarity and accountability have reduced people’s willingness and ability to innovate and collaborate. Instead, they focus only on the measured activities. getAbstract recommends this healthy perspective to business leaders looking to improve their organizations’ work environment.

About the Speaker

Organizational consultant Yves Morieux is a senior partner and managing director of the Boston Consulting Group.



Work productivity has steadily been dropping in advanced economies. In the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, it averaged around 5% growth per year, fell to 3% per annum between 1973 and 1983, and dropped to 2% annually from 1983 to 1995. Since the mid-’90s, it has hovered at around 1%. The standard of living doubles each generation when productivity rates are at least 3%, but it takes three generations to double the standard of living at 1%. This means that your children will be less well-off than you are.

The quest to increase work efficiency by following the tenets of “clarity, measurement and accountability” is to blame for the drop in productivity. The 2003 women’s 4x100-meter relay world championship...

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    C. P. 4 years ago
    I have experienced similar processes during my career and agree that you need to get rid of unnecessary management involvement in order to empower your employees.
    Thank you for the valid summary. #30DaysOfSummaries
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    j. w. 4 years ago
    #30DaysOfSummaries I agree with the point "Cooperation yielded a combined effort that was greater than the sum of its parts", and it's true too many rules suppresses innovation and collaboration. However, it seems not suitable for all kind of organizations to remove watchdog processes and embrace the messiness of creativity. Certain type of organizations still need a lot of rules to ensure its steadiness, while others need as less rules as possible.
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    Y. Z. 4 years ago
    Today’s firms boast unnecessary layers of middle managers and processes that generate reams of reports and metrics, which demand leaders’ time and attention- this is very true. workers want to move forward but the systems slow us down.
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    K. S. 4 years ago
    #30DaysofSummaries I think when assessing performance clarity is very crucial. I feel it would be of greater value if the process of delivery the collaboration that takes place is taken into consideration as well.
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    H. G. 4 years ago
    somethimes we lose the real focus manage numbers instead people
  • Avatar
    D. H. 4 years ago
    This summary does look a bit provocative ... is it really true that we have more management layers than is required in organisations ? It will be interesting to see if we actually have some research and data which bears that out -2 companies working in similiar contexts,similiar size etc -but one has lesser managers and is more productive than the other ...I would love to find this out ....
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    A. A. 4 years ago
    I think watchdogs may be important to deal with the also prevalent management fear, insecurity, and thrill seeking from how to get away with murder.

    In my humble opinion, what may be needed is moral science lessons, some teeth and accountability for the appointed watchdogs to fix the problem till they make themselves redundant.