Bureaucracy: The Entrepreneur’s Kryptonite

As Dan Sullivan says in The Strategic Coach® Program, “The human brain cannot do extraordinary things, only normal things.” “So the trick,” he says, “is to make the extraordinary normal.”

Corporate employees operate based on policy: that’s what keeps them from having to think. Entrepreneurs depend thrive on having the freedom to constantly grow and change, to make new connections, and to ask questions that shake everything up. To an entrepreneur, groupthink (i.e. bureaucracy) is like Kryptonite.

Just because we don’t like being bogged down by over reliance on structure doesn’t mean that we are always creative. Following established patterns and trying to approach every issue with the same solution is a bad habit even for an entrepreneur. Rather than seeing opportunity, we can become fixated on solving a problem.

When Jim Collins wrote about Big Hairy Audacious Goals (“BHAGs”), he was challenging small thinking. Simply considering an aggressive goal causes the mind to see the environment differently. Unable to stop thinking about the “What ifs,” we are empowered to consider new concepts,  linkage and alternative ways of viewing the same issue. Divergent thinking is modeled by the likes of Richard Branson, who tweeted, “My interest in life comes from setting myself huge, apparently unachievable challenges, and trying to rise above them.”

Your definition of “normal” daily experience becomes unique when you think in terms of BHAGs.  Dream for a moment about what life could look like in 5-7 years. Can you imagine performing at 10x today’s level? Earning 10X what you do today?

Bureaucracies are based on keeping everything the same so they can preserve their status. Policy and rules “protect” the structure from the effects of individuals, whose participation is measured in hours on the clock, not in results. In an entrepreneurial organization, by contrast, change is life, because “holding your ground” means stagnating and falling behind. Individuals are sought out and rewarded for their ability to think, create, and make a unique contribution.

Make a habit of  what Sullivan terms the “10x Mindset,” and innovation, risk-taking, and teamwork will all come together for you in a completely new way. Bureaucratic thinking and structures simply won’t survive in your environment because you and the people around you will be entirely focused on building, adapting, and expanding a path toward your “bigger future” vision.

Cultivate a creative mindset that makes growth and progress “normal.”

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