Ever wonder why so many large companies are so very bureaucratic? Is it inevitable? Is being rigid and process-laden, innovation-shy and (often) soul-quashing the cost of size? It seems a steep price to pay, don’t you think?

I wonder if small-but-growing companies must bureaucratize at a certain threshold, or if they just choose to.

And if it’s a choice, how do we choose “Hell no!” for our own growing firms?

I’ve built my career working in, working with, and studying our largest companies. And this is what I think:

I think the human organization is an awful lot like a living organism.

A healthy organism – be it human or plankton – is simultaneously duplicating cells where it needs more and killing off others where they aren’t. This continual cycle keeps the body healthy.

And I’m convinced same cycle is essential for any organization intent on thriving, too.

Unfortunately, cells within a living organism can sometimes get stuck on duplicate, and do so at a much faster rate than they break down. We call that cancer. If left unchecked, cancer kills.

Do organizations mimic cancer when they build more and more bureaucracy – more task forces and committees and layers of management and support staff – without dismantling at the same pace?

If you run your firm, if it’s small and new and on a rapid-growth trajectory, now is your time to commit to undo every bit as actively as you build. More so! Because bureaucracy replicates without any prodding from you.

Dismantling bureaucracy? That one’s a little more of a struggle. Stay resolute.

Founder + CEO is a commitment to share the adventures and misadventures of our effort to build OPENfor.Business into an industry-transforming juggernaut, in 300 words or less. This is post #5 in that ongoing series. For the previous posts in Founder + CEO, click here.

About Ted Coiné

Ted Coiné is CEO of The Extraordinary Network, a group that is rewriting all the rules of influencer marketing by cutting out agency middlemen to work directly with B2B and luxury brands. Proud “bleeding heart capitalists,” he and his team have built support of a great cause into every for-profit campaign they undertake.

His entire career, Ted has collected fascinating people, most notably other thought leaders who also have a large and loyal audience of large enterprise leaders. He has watched the Wild West that is influencer marketing until he realized an opportunity to fix this broken system, and give influencers the sway they need to move markets together, and to get paid what they’re deserved for this power they bring to bear.

An Inc. Top 100 Speaker and one of Business News Daily’s 15 Twitter Accounts Every Entrepreneur Should Follow, Ranked #1 authority on the Social CEO and #3 in the Future of Work, Ted is also a serial business founder and CEO.

Ted is a Forbes Top 10 Social Media Power Influencer and an Inc. Top 100 Leadership Expert. This stance at the crossroads of social and leadership gave Ted a unique perspective to identify the demise of Industrial Age management and the birth of the Social Age. The result, after five years of trend watching, interviewing and intensive research, is his latest book, A World Gone Social: How Companies Must Adapt to Survive.

He lives in Naples, Florida, with his wife and two daughters.


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